Enroll your Child
As a parent, you recognize the potential of your child better than anyone. By giving them the opportunity to be part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, you’re starting them down a path to an even brighter, more promising future.
Could your little one use a Big?
It all starts with the right role models. And Big Brothers Big Sisters is the place to start a relationship with one. For over 100 years, due in large part to private donations, we’ve been able to recruit, screen, match, and support mentoring relationships that have changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people across the country—one Little at a time.
You’ll feel the impact as much as your child.
A study for Big Brothers Big Sisters found that kids matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister:
are more confident
are more likely to steer clear of drugs and alcohol
do better in school
get along better with their family and friends
feel better about themselves
How does Big Brothers Big Sisters help Kasaius?
When Big Brothers Big Sisters works to match a Little with a Big, we take into account the needs, personality, interests, and goals of both the child and the adult volunteer. We introduce the Little and his or her family to the Big slowly and make sure everyone is fully committed to the match before it is made official. Little Brother Kasaius is outgoing and up for anything, so he needed a Big who was creative and had a variety of interests.
Children like Kasaius get the most out of their one-to-one relationship with their Big when the Big, the parent or guardian, and the child talk openly with their Match Support Specialist. Working as part of the team helping the child succeed, the Match Support Specialist can help identify problems, brainstorm solutions, and connect the family with essential services.
When Kasaius’ Big Brother saw the email from BBBS saying that there were spots open in a free acting class, he jumped at the chance to take Kasaius. BBBS affiliates across the country provide activities for Bigs and Littles and also alert Bigs to opportunities in the community. This enables Bigs to get to know other Bigs, who might be experiencing similar things and who might have great suggestions for more new activities.
Screening and Training
Child safety is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ highest priority. To achieve the highest standards possible, we work constantly to review and strengthen our background check systems as new best practices in the industry emerge. We also make sure our Bigs and our staff have the training and resources they need to help Littles on their path to success.
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.
What is your role?
When it comes to the future of our children and the well-being of our communities, we’re all in this together. So it should come as no surprise that we need the parents and guardians of Littles to be involved every step of the way, starting with the initial match.
Learn About Your Role
Not only will you provide information about your child’s strengths and needs, but you’ll also approve the selection of the Big Brother or Big Sister. Once the match is made, you remain closely involved in many ways, including:
Approving activities and outings for your child and their Big
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 (Big Brothers Big Sisters will contact you, but we welcome your feedback any time)
Communicate with your child about the child safety materials provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff during enrollment.
Safety from the start.
Your child's safety is our number one priority. 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 Case Manager.
Child Safety is First
Making the best possible match between Little and Big is critical to the growth and development of a child. But before we begin the matching process, we start by thoroughly screening potential Bigs.
Big Brothers Big Sisters National Standards of Excellence require each volunteer to complete an extensive screening process that includes:
Completion of a formal written application
Local and national background checks
Driving record and proof of automobile insurance for Community-based Bigs
An in-person interview with staff written assessments
Prematch mentor training
Big Brothers Big Sisters also 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 strong relationship that will have the greatest impact on your child’s future success.
For more information about enrolling a child, you can contact Alyne VanWinkle, Program Director, at [email protected] or 425-252-2571.
Step 1: Inquire
Once you inquire under “Enroll a Child,” within 24–48 hours you will receive an email confirming your inquiry and directions for your next steps, which is to complete the online Youth Application.
Step 2: Complete the Online Youth Application
This will take you approximately 30 minutes to complete for each Youth Application. If you have any questions or would prefer a paper copy, feel free to reach out to the Program Director, Alyne Van Winkle, at [email protected] or 425-252-2571.
Step 3: Parent/Guardian & Youth Interview
Once the online application is submitted, you will receive another email within 24–48 hours confirming we have received your application and providing directions for your next steps, which is to sign up for an interview, in person (at our office location) or via Zoom. The email will include all our Case Manager’s calendar links, and you will be able to sign up for a time that works for you.
The parent/guardian interview is typically 60 minutes, and the youth interview is 15–20 minutes. This interview helps us get to know you and your child(ren) better, so that Big Brothers Big Sisters can make a match that takes into account your child’s interests, background, and personality.
After a final decision on acceptance in the program is reached, we will use the information you provided in the interview to find a Big who would be a good match for you child. You will be contacted and presented with a Big’s profile to determine if this is a potential match.
Step 4: Parent/Guardian Safety Training
Post interview your Case Manager will sign you up for a 1-hour online training called “Your Child’s Personal Safety.” This is a required training of all our parents/guardians. We cannot accept a child into the program until this training is completed.
Step 5: Match Meeting
A match meeting will be scheduled with you, your child, your Case Manager, and the Big Brother/Big Sister. This is a chance for you to start getting to know each other in a supported environment. Your Case Manager will help you introduce yourselves, go over ground rules and policies, and help you talk through what your first meeting together might be.
Step 6: Ongoing Support
Once the match is underway, you and the Big will work together to schedule match outings. Your Case Manager will support you throughout your match relationship, through regular contact. These contacts are made mostly by phone or in person, and they give you an opportunity to celebrate the match’s successes and voice any concerns you may have with someone who cares and is dedicated to making your child’s match a lasting and fun mentor relationship.