Do something big

Being a Big Brother or Big Sister is one of the most enjoyable things you’ll ever do. Not to mention, one of the most fulfilling. You have the opportunity to help shape a youth’s future for the better by empowering him or her to achieve. And the best part is, it’s actually a lot of fun. You and your Little can share the kinds of activities you already like to do.

Play sports together. Go on a hike. Read books. Eat a pizza with extra anchovies. Or just give some advice and inspiration. Whatever it is you enjoy, odds are you’ll enjoy it even more with your Little—and you’ll be making a life-changing impact.

Volunteering just 2-4 hours per month with a youth can start something amazing – for both you and a Little.

A young woman smiles in the foreground with her mentor, an older woman, smiles behind her in the background.

our waitlist is 200 littles too long

What does a BIG do?

BIGs Show Up

Just showing up is one of the most important things you can do for a vulnerable youth in your community. Bigs spend 2-4 hours a month with their Little doing all sorts of fun activities – or just hanging out – and stayed matched for a least year… and often much longer!

bigs are mentors

Bigs are not a parent or guardian, therapist, counselor, teacher or tutor. A Big is a mentor, role model, and friend – someone who listens, encourages, and defends a youth’s potential. A Big simply has to care about their Little and help them succeed.

bigs receive support from our staff

Bigs are part of the BBBS Southern Lake Michigan family. Our team of professionally trained Match Support Specialist are here for you 24/7 to help you with anything you need to help you and your Little succeed on this adventure together.

bigs and littles have fun!

Bigs and Littles do all sorts of fun things together! Going to the park, catching a movie or game, run errands, or simply hang out. The what isn’t the important part… Littles just need someone to show up for them and support them!

Have more questions?

several ways to make a big impact

A young man and his mentor, an older man, walk in a park.

Big Brothers & Big Sisters

Youth are matched in a one-to-one relationship with an adult, usually of the same gender. Big Brothers and Big Sisters serve as a source of hope, encouragement... and fun!

A young woman and her mentor, an older woman, sit together in a cafeteria.

Big Couples

Many people are looking for opportunities to serve their community alongside their spouse or kids. Our Big Couples and Big Families make a lasting difference in their Littles’ lives—and their own lives are changed as a result!

A young woman and her older mentor baking in a modern kitchen.

Special Programs

In addition to becoming a Big Brother or Sister or a Big Couple, BBBS Southern Lake Michigan Region offers special programs, such as our Bigs with Badges and Site-Based Programs. Reach out to us for more details about these programs.

The BIG Process

Frequently asked questions

What is the aim of Big Brothers Big Sisters?

The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Lake Michigan Region (BBBS-SLMR) focuses on one-to-one, community-based mentoring relationships, which help youth in the program develop confidence, competency, and caring.

Who is the Little?

The Little is a youth in need of a consistent, supportive, positive friend in their life. The youth is between the ages of 6 and 18. Once a youth is matched, the relationship can continue until he or she graduates high school.

Who is the Big?

The Big Brothers or Big Sister is a mature, responsible volunteer who seeks to make an impact in the life of a youth by providing a caring and positive friendship. There are not any occupational, religious, or educational requirements. A Big may be of any age, race, religion, sex, or marital status.

Couples can volunteer together can become a Big Couple. Families can volunteer as a Big Family.

How often do Bigs and Littles meet?

The youth and volunteer generally see each other 2-4 times each month for 1-5 hours, depending on the schedule of the Big and Little and the match itself. Each volunteer is expected to commit to at least one year of volunteering.

What do Bigs and Littles do together?

The ordinary, everyday things that are always more fun when done with a friend! The match may have an activity in common, such as fishing, crafts, or a particular sport. They may learn together, just talk, attend some special event or even volunteer together. Matches can also enjoy something new or out of the ordinary, such as a new hobby or special experience like a concert. The agency also offers occasional group activities, such as ice skating, a Summer Picnic, a Christmas Party, camping trips, etc.

How does the agency support each match?

The purpose of the agency in the relationship is to provide support and guidelines to the people involved in each match. This is done by the Match Support Specialist over the length of the match. The Match Support Specialist and other agency program staff (including Enrollment Specialist, Customer Relations Specialist, etc.) are involved in the match in many ways, including: the recruitment, interview, and overall intake of new volunteers and youth; matching Bigs and Littles; and offering support, guidance, and supervision to the volunteer, youth, and parents.

Does being in the program cost money?

There is no charge for parents and youth to be enrolled in the program.

Overall, the agency is funded by private donations, grants and fundraising activities. The agency is a not-for-profit organization and contributions are tax deductible. Participants may be asked to help with fundraising and promotional activities.

Although many activities can be low cost or even free, there is an expectation that the Big will cover the cost of the outings. The agency offers some free match events throughout the year, and will often post calendars and activities on the BBBS website with free community events. (Reasonable unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the volunteer for the Little and mileage may be tax deductible.)

What do Bigs and Littles do together?

Any person interested in volunteering as a Big is encouraged to contact the BBBS office.

Youth enter the program by referral from parents, school, or social service agencies, and by the consent of the parent or guardian only. The parent and youth must agree to interviews for social history and understand that youth are matched as volunteers become available.

All information is treated in a confidential manner. Services are provided without regard to race, age, sex, religion, handicap, national origin, or ancestry.

Have more questions?

Make a Difference Today

When you support Big Brothers Big Sisters, you positively impact the young people in your community.