Who can volunteer?
You can! A “typical” Big Brother is a caring, responsible guy who is over the age of 18. Our Volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and from all walks of life. No special skills or experience are needed. All you need is a little time and enthusiasm.
What is the basic commitment of a Big Brother?
Spend 2 – 4 hours once a week with your Little Brother and commit for a minimum of one year.
Am I the right age to volunteer?
The minimum age to be a Big Brother is 18. There is no maximum age limit, as long as you are in good health and maintain an active lifestyle.
How long do the friendships usually last?
Although Volunteers are only required to make an initial commitment of one year, the average friendship lasts 2 – 3 years. Some friendships last well beyond that and others last a lifetime.
Will I be paired with a child who lives in my community?
We try to match a Big Brother to a Little Brother who lives close by. But we also want to match Volunteers with boys who have similar interests and personalities. Sometimes the most compatible Little Brother will live in a neighbouring community and a small amount of travel may be necessary.
Do I need to own a car?
No, some of our Big Brothers rely on public transit. In this case, we’ll try to pair you with a child on an accessible transit route.
How old are the Little Brothers?
Little Brothers are between the ages of 7 and 14, but the agency-sponsored friendship can continue with the Big Brother until the boy reaches the age of 19.
What are the children’s backgrounds?
Generally most of the boys are from father absent homes but on a case by case basis boys are accepted into the program who may have a varying degree of contact with their father. A typical Little Brother is an average child who would enjoy and benefit from spending quality time with an adult male who shares his interests.
Like our Volunteers, our Little Brothers come from diverse backgrounds and have stable family situations. This program is friendship-based and is not designed as a form of intervention for serious individual or family problems.
Will I be expected to help with family issues?
A Big Brother’s primary responsibility is to spend time with his Little Brother. He is discouraged from getting involved in family dynamics. Our support and guidance ensures that clear boundaries are maintained.
As a Big Brother, you won’t be counseling or fulfilling a parenting role. You are a buddy to share good times with. And simply by being a caring and dependable friend, you have the capacity to be a positive role model for your Little Brother.
Is there a cost involved in being a Big Brother?
The Big Brother is responsible for paying his portion of activity expenses, while the parent/guardian is expected to cover the child’s portion. While some Big Brothers may occasionally offer to treat their Little Brother, this should be the exception and not the rule.
We encourage you to choose activities that are no-cost or low cost, and fall within the parent/guardian’s limited budget. We help out whenever possible by organizing special events or providing free tickets to special events.
What do the Little Brothers like to do?
While interests vary, most boys like to participate in active and outdoor activities, like biking, shooting hoops or playing catch. They also enjoy movies, games, and going to places like Science World. A large portion of our Little Brothers enjoy playing sports, while others prefer art, building models, Lego and mechanical projects.
We make every effort to match Big and Little Brothers based on similar interests and personalities, so the two of you can build a solid friendship.
Does the agency stay involved after I first meet my Little Brother?
Yes. We provide on-going support and monitoring of the friendship. You will be designated a mentoring coordinator, who will be available to deal with any questions or concerns that come up. Regular phone contact with all parties is expected as are regularly scheduled meetings to discuss the progress of the friendship.
We also provide agency sponsored activities like picnics, water skiing, kayaking and bowling, so that the Big and Little Brothers can all meet each other.