Volunteer Mentoring FAQs

What is a youth volunteer mentor or Big?

A youth mentor, or “Big” is simply someone who wants to make a positive impact in a young person’s life. No special skills or training are necessary; all we ask is that the Big spend at least 4 hours a month with his or her mentee, or “Little”. It is through this shared time together that the Big can listen, give advice, and stand as a constructive example, making a huge impact on his or her Little’s development.

How does Big Brothers Big Sisters match Bigs and Littles?
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Family Services of Westchester (FSW) tailors each match by taking into account the interests, strengths, experiences, location and preferences of the volunteers to the unique needs of our Littles. Prior to matching, the volunteer, child and parent/guardian are briefed on the match and must submit their pre-approval.

How long is the program and when do the matches meet?
We ask that our Bigs and Littles meet a minimum of 4 hours a month for a period of at least a year. The schedule of the meetings depends on the schedules of the Big, the Little and the Little’s family – we ask that the minimum number of hours per month be met, but leave it up to the match to create a calendar around their own schedules.

What kinds of activities should I do with my Little?
Whatever interests you! Remember, we take into account both the Big’s and Little’s interests when we make our matches, so you will have some shared interests or activities that you can both enjoy together. We also encourage Bigs to find low or no cost activities to do with their Littles – things such as hiking, going to the library, or even just hanging out at the park. A suggested list of these activities is available on our website and provided in your packet during orientation training.

What kind of support can I expect from Big Brothers Big Sisters once I get matched?
Once you are matched with your Little Brother, a Match Support Specialist/Mentor Manager from the agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Specialist there to help. They’ll assist you with ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations, and feedback on how you are making a difference.

What impact does being a volunteer mentor "Big" make on a child "Little"?
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America reports that Littles in our program are 52% less likely to skip a day of school and 46% less likely to start using illegal substances than their peers. We have also found that 85% of our youths show improved peer relationships, increased self-confidence, improved school attendance and improved academic performance.