The basis of all of our programs is simple - we match adult volunteers (Bigs) with vulnerable children (Littles). The Big becomes a caring life-long friend, mentor and positive role model for the Little.
Who are the children we serve?
All children can benefit from having an additional caring adult in their support system; our services are target to children who may be more vulnerable than most.
Children between the ages of 5-12 are enrolled into our programs. Children from all ethnicities, family types, developmental levels and religious backgrounds are served. The majority of the children we serve are from single-parent homes or are being raised by extended family members, such as their grandparents.
Who are our volunteers?
Volunteers are recruited through colleges, churches, community events, local businesses and by our current Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
Anyone 18 or older is eligible to become a Big Brother or Big Sisters. Volunteers from all ethnicities, education backgrounds, career fields, religions and physical abilities are accepted.
While previous experience with children is not a requirement, it is taken into consideration when identifying the right child and the levels of agency support needed to make the match successful.
All volunteers are interviewed and fully screened prior to acceptance into the program.
How are matches made?
Matches are made based on personalities, shared interests and hobbies as well as preferences of the volunteer and the child's parent/guardian.
There are two main programs that we offer:
Community Based Programs
This is the traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters one-to-one-match. Bigs and Littles form a special friendship and spend their time doing activities they enjoy. These activities may include: helping with homework, volunteering in the community, seeing a movie, going fishing, baking, crafts, sports, etc.
While the time commitment for this type of match varies, most Bigs meet with their Littles 2-3 times per month. On average the match lasts three years, but our goal is that the match would last until the Little reaches the age of 18.
Lunch Buddies is a a site-based program designed for Bigs who may not have the flexibility of a community based volunteer. In this program, children are matched with a Big and meet once a week for an hour during lunch at the Little’s school. Matches spend time playing board games, making crafts, reading and building friendships.
We currently have a program Edgewood Elementary in Muskegon.