Please consider joining the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the county by becoming a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, and help change the life of a child for the better, forever. Most of our Bigs are just like you: they work, go to school, and have families. But changing the life of an at-risk child doesn’t take a lot of time (between 4-8 hours a month, depending on the program). The real focus is on being consistent, and spending one-to-one quality time with your Little. Being a Big often means just including your Little in things you already like to do — going to a ball game, or a museum, or the beach, or a bike ride. Read below for more information about the expectations, commitment, impact and process of becoming a Big.Get started by attending one of our Big Orientation/Training sessions.
(Click here to find the schedule in your county.)
You can also fill out an on-line application. Or click on this link for an adult application you can print. If you are a high school student email NancyF@bbbstampabay.org for more information.
Volunteers must live or work in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, Citrus, Hernando or Sumter counties.
We know what you're thinking!
Q: How much time does it take to be a Big?
A: 4 to 8 hours a month, depending on the program. In our Site-Based program, you visit your Little for one hour each week during the school year, typically during his or her lunch hour. We ask for a 12-month minimum commitment. In our Community-Based program, you would pick up your Little at least twice a month and take them outside the home to engage in some type of activity, typically in the evenings or on weekends. We also offer a Sports Buddy program, which centers around watching and participating in sports, and a Big Couples option, where you and your spouse or significant other share the mentoring experience. We ask for a minimum 15-month commitment in the community-based programs.
Q: What’s required to be a Big?
A: You must:
-Agree to honor the minimum commitment (12-15 months, depending on the program) and have the time each/week month to see your Little.
-Successfully pass a Level 2 background check (including fingerprints and driving record).
There is no cost to applicants for the background check
-Have a valid driver’s license, auto insurance and appropriate transportation for children (for Community-Based). For Site-Based you must have a reliable means to get to your mentoring site even in inclement weather.
-Complete the enrollment process, which includes attending a Big Orientation & Training session (click on the link to your county above for a complete schedule), complete an application (with references), and complete a one-on-one personal interview.
Q: What kind of kids do we help?
A: We initially match children between the ages of 5 and 13 (although once matched they remain in the program through high school graduation. Most of our Littles come from families living below the federal poverty line, while many come from single-parent homes. We work hard to match you with a child within 15 minutes of where you live that shares your interests and hobbies.
Q: Will I have help?
A: Absolutely. Every Big and Little “Match” is assigned to work with one of our professional staff members, called a Match Support Specialist, who is there to help you overcome any challenges, answer any questions and otherwise support the match in any way possible. We hose many events for our matches that are free to attend, and we will work with you to help develop skills to become a more effective mentor.
Q: So what is the first step?
A: Check out the Big Orientation & Training schedule for your county (see links above) and just show up. No RSVP required. You’ll learn all about our programs, commitments, expectations and our kids.
And once you're matched, "like" us on Facebook so you can keep up on everything we're doing!