Have questions about being a Big?


What is Big Brothers Big Sisters?

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County provides children facing adversity with caring mentors who help provide individual guidance and support.

By partnering with parents/guardians, volunteers and others in the community, we are accountable for each child in our program achieving:

  1. Higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships
  2. Avoidance of risky behaviors
  3. Educational achievement

What is a ‘Big’?

A ‘Big’ is a volunteer mentor who is matched in a one-to-one relationship with a child (‘Little’) in our program. A Big is a friend, a supporter, and a positive and consistent addition to the life of a Little. Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and Big Couples are not replacement parents, babysitters or therapists. Instead, a Big is someone who shares a different perspective on life and helps their Little realize their endless potential.

What is a ‘Little’?

A 'Little' is a child in our program between the ages of 6 and 18. Our Littles come from various backgrounds, neighborhoods and schools. Their backgrounds and personalities are unique, but they all have a need for friendship with a caring adult.

What is the benefit of Big Brothers Big Sisters?

We hold ourselves accountable to measurable outcomes for the kids in our program.  We conduct a Youth Outcome Survey (YOS) to see those real, measurable results for ourselves.  

  • 100 percent of our Little Brothers and Little Sisters feel that they have a special adult in their life who they can confide in.
  • Compared to their peers, Little Brothers and Little Sisters are 46 percent less likely to initiate drug use.
  • Little Brothers and Little Sisters skipped half as many days of school as did their peers.

How do Bigs and Littles Get Matched?

Both Bigs and Littles are interviewed by our staff so we can get to know them and match them based on shared interests and personality to make a good match and lasting friendship.  We do our best to make connecting with your Little as convenient as possible by considering your location and travel preferences.  To make the best possible match, we also take into account things such as preferences, personalities and cultural background. We work hard to make a match that is compatible so your friendship will last a lifetime.

What are the requirements to become a ‘Big’?
To become a Big, we ask that our volunteer mentors:

  • Are over 18 years old for school-based and 21 for community-based matches
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have reliable transportation (an insured vehicle)
  • Meet with our staff for an in-depth interview
  • Consent to a background check
  • Commit to 2-3 hours per week with your Little
  • Make a commitment of at least 12 months - consistency and longevity are essential
  • Love to laugh and have fun.  If you can be yourself, you can be a mentor.

Why am I on the mentor waitlist?

There are several reasons you may be on our waitlist after either inquiring to become a mentor or after you have been accepted as a mentor in our program. Historically, we have received a greater number of potential Big Sister inquiries than Big Brother inquiries, and we have a greater need for Big Brothers, so Big Sisters may have to wait a bit longer to be interviewed or matched. We may be waiting for your background check, DMV check, or references to return our calls. We may not have a child ready to be matched within the parameters or location in which you were looking for. We do appreciate your patience.  Please know that we are doing everything we can to find the right match for you.

What support does a mentor receive from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County?

Once a Big and a Little are matched, they are assigned a Case Manager who will oversee and monitor the match for its duration. Our staff check in with mentors, the child and their parent/guardian once a month for the first year of the match, then quarterly after that.  Our Case Managers are always available as a resource, to guide and assist with any issues or difficulties, and to ensure that all parties are benefiting from the relationship.

What types of activities do a ‘Big’ and ‘Little’ do together?

Most matches do simple, everyday activities and often begin their match with outings conducive to talking.  Bigs and Littles have lots to learn about each other.  We stress 'no to low cost' activities that strengthen the relationship while building confidence and exposing the Little to new things.  Many matches do community service activities together or play catch in the park, bake cookies, go bowling, take bike rides or walks, or just hang out.  We do receive limited numbers of donated tickets throughout the year, which we offer to our matches on a first come, first serve basis.