Enroll a Child
Every child is born with endless potential
As a parent, you see your child's potential better than anyone. By allowing them to participate in a Big Brothers Big Sister youth mentoring program, you're starting them down a path to an even brighter, more promising future. At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, we committed to unlocking children's potential and defending it. For more than 36 years, we have matched youth (Littles) in our community with committed mentors (Bigs). Littles and their families come from a variety of diverse backgrounds and want their child to benefit from an additional positive role model to nurture their growth.
Your child’s safety is extremely important to us. Big Brothers Big Sisters conducts a thorough background check on every volunteer in our program, and every relationship is closely monitored and supported by a professionally trained Match Support Specialist. A study conducted by industry leader Civic Enterprises for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America showed overwhelmingly that children in our mentor programs:
Feel better about themselves and more confident overall
Steer clear of drugs and alcohol
Do better in school
Get along better with their family and friends
How to Enroll Your Child
Tell us about your Child
First, you’ll complete our online child enrollment form so we can learn about you and your child.
Complete Orientation & Interview
Enrollment specialists will complete an interview to determine interests in order to find the ideal Big. This is where you can share preferences about the type of Big you think will be the best fit.
Meet Your Match
Along with your Match Specialist, you and your child will meet your Big. Participants will develop a plan for communication and activities.
The parent/guardian, child and volunteer will regularly speak to the Match Support Specialist to ensure that the match is safe, successful and a rewarding experience for all participants.
Get Started Now
We View Our Families As Partners
You know what’s best for your child. So we’ll need your help from the start, providing information about your child’s strengths and needs, and ultimately approving the Big Brother or Big Sister match. But your role doesn’t end there. You'll be involved in every step along the way:
Approving activities and outings for your child and their Big (mentor)
Asking your child questions about those outings, and sharing what you learn with the agency staff
Reporting your child’s progress and milestones to the agency on a regular basis (We will contact you, but we welcome your feedback any time)
Participating in training on child safety offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff and communicating with your child about the training he or she receives.
Starting with the initial and best possible match between Little and Big is critical to growth and development. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides child safety tips to you and your child, and we welcome your questions and feedback. Throughout the life of the match, our professional staff will be in ongoing communication with you, your child, and your child's Big. It's the best way to build a safe and strong relationship that will have the most significant impact on your child's future success. Before we begin the matching process, we thoroughly screen potential Bigs. You'll also approve the selection of Big Brother or Big Sister.
Once you meet your child's Big, you will be free to move forward with the mentoring relationship. For community-based mentoring means making plans with your child's Big to meet in the community. You will approve every activity that your child does with their mentor. For site-based mentoring or School to Work, your child's Big will either go to your child's school or regularly interact virtually via the online platform.
Your Match Support Specialist will provide ongoing support to ensure the relationship continues positively; these contacts are done mostly by phone or in person. When talking to your Match Specialist, feel free to share your child's successes! To best assist you, it is essential to voice any concerns you have, no matter how small. Our trained support team will make recommendations to address any issues and take action if necessary. Open communication allows for a lasting, fun, and impactful relationship between you, your child, and your child's Big.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kinds of things do Bigs and Littles do together?
In the Community Based program, Bigs and Littles do normal, everyday activities that ultimately build friendships and change lives! Going out for ice cream, going to a baseball game, cooking a meal, visiting a museum – the Big and Little can decide what they want to do together. In the School-Based and Career and College program, fun and engaging activities are led and planned by the Program Coordinator.
How do you match a Big with a Little?
We conduct in-depth interviews with the Bigs, Littles, and parents/guardians enrolling in our program so we can get to know all parties and can make the best match. We make matches based on common interests, personalities, preferences, and geography.
When would my child meet their Big?
In the Community-Based Program, it’s up to your family’s and the Big’s schedule, but most matches meet on the weekends. Bigs and Littles in the School-Based and School to Work Program generally meet after school virtually.
What is the minimum time commitment to be a Little?
Littles and their parent/guardian must be willing to commit to being matched with a Big for at least one year and meet with their Big two to four times per month.
What outcome areas will the Big focus on with my child?
Bigs and Littles set goals around three outcome areas: Educational Achievement (improving attitudes about school, improving grades, addressing truancy, discussing career aspirations, etc.), Avoidance of Risky Behavior (peer pressure, drug and alcohol use, gangs, making healthy choices), and Socio-Emotional Competency (developing healthy peer relationships, self-confidence, etc.).
What kind of background checks do you do?
All volunteers and employees are subject to background checks that include obtaining references from people who know them well. Also, we conduct a National Criminal Background Check, Federal Background Check, DCFS Child Abuse/Neglect, Public Domain Search, Motor Vehicle Check, and fingerprinting.
Is there a cost for the program?
No. This is a free program for families. Because Big Brothers Big Sisters is a non-profit organization, we rely on contributions from the community to cover the costs for each mentor and mentee match.
How old are the Littles in the program?
The Community Based program matches youth between 6 and 14 years old. Once matched, youth can remain in the program until high school graduation. In the School Based youth are K-5th grade. In the Career and College program, youth are grades 9-12.
How long does it take to be matched with a mentor?
We cannot provide an estimate of how long it will take to be enrolled and matched. It is not first come, first served. Our goal is to make the best match possible while honoring everyone's preferences to the best of our ability.
WHICH MENTORING PROGRAM IS THE BEST FIT FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILD?
Bigs and Little enjoy agreed-upon activities both would like to do together with guardian approval.
4-6 hours a couple of times a month
Youth ages 6-14 at the time of enrollment
Youth are paired with adult volunteer mentors
Open enrollment year around, matches are made based on compatibility and availability
BBBS provides monthly activities for Bigs and Littles, such as fishing, golf lessons, baseball games, etc.
Mentors help complete homework, read, and other games/activities
1 hour each week during the school year
Youth grades K-5
Youth are paired with adults and high school students volunteer mentor
Meet weekly at designated after-school sites (Galaxy E3 Elementary, Seminole Trails Elementary, Berkshire Elementary, Pinewood Elementary, YMCA of the Treasure Coast and private sites: Treasure Coast Classical Academy, Jupiter Elementary)
College and Career Based
A great way for students to explore potential fields they are interested in pursuing, pathways to careers, college, and practicing life skills
2-3 hours a month
Youth grades 9-12
Youth are paired with an adult volunteer mentor
Youth and mentors connect virtually working
on activities such as resumes,
budgeting, interviewing skills, etc.
Youth are engaged during the summer with career exploration trips to local businesses