Be A BIG
We're so glad you're here! Being a Big is truly a fun, life-changing volunteer experience that gives the invaluable gift of your friendship.
Below you will find more information about our program,
how to answer your questions, and how to get started!
#BiggerTogether #MentorsMatter #EndTheWait
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids & East Central Iowa is committed to ensuring its programs are inclusive to all youth and volunteers. Equality, diversity and inclusiveness are critical components of our mission. We encourage volunteers of all sexual orientations, races, colors, religions, genders, gender identities, gender expressions, ages, national origins, disabilities, marital status or military status to get involved and become a defender of potential in our community. Together, let’s clear a path to a child’s biggest possible future.
Still Questioning Becoming a Big? Take Our Quiz!
Question 1 of 6
Are you into fun things like Music, Books, Movies, Sports, Pets, Cooking, Art, Games, etc?
Question 2 of 6
How about changing a life while having fun?
Question 3 of 6
Can you be a consistent, reliable friend to a kid?
Question 4 of 6
Did you need help when you were a kid?
Question 5 of 6
Do you have a little time once a week or twice a month to have fun?
Question 6 of 6
How about choosing “Yes” to being a Big to a “Little”
Yay! You would make a great Big! Let's get started!Inquire Here
If being a Big isn't right for you, that's OK, we have lots of other opportunities to help BBBS! You can donate by clicking below, or connect with us by emailing [email protected]Give
FAQ Your Questions, Answered.
We’re here to help you every step of the way. View a full list of commonly asked questions to get the information you need.
We offer two mentoring options: Community-Based or School-Based. Community-Based Bigs will choose a Little between 6-18 to meet once a month for at least a year. School-Based will meet for 2 hrs each month for at least a year.
Once you are matched with your Little, your Match Support Specialist will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Anytime you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have your Match Support Specialist there to help. They’ll help you with ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations and feedback on how you are making a difference.
Parents that enroll their children in the BBBS program want the very best for their children. They see the benefits of introducing another caring adult role model in the life of their child. Many say that their children’s Bigs are able to talk to them about issues that are just difficult for a parent to address. That is why parents often say introducing a Big into their child’s life has not only changed their son/daughter’s life, but it’s impacted the entire family. BBBS only enrolls children who want and need the program and whose parents specifically want them to be in the program, so 100% of the children enrolled are ready and excited about being matched.
This is what is really unique and great about BBBS. We don’t just select the next child on our list and match them with a Big. Each Big and Little are matched based on compatibility and proximity to each other. Match Support Specialists get to know each Big, parent and child that enrolls in the program. They get to know their interests, hobbies, what they are looking for in a Match and much more. This is crucial because once a volunteer is accepted into the program a Match Support Specialist will begin searching for a few Littles that they think would make a good match. They will then connect with you to discuss potential Littles and from there you ultimately decide which child you think would be the best fit to be your Little.
Anything you like. Activities are up to each Match to schedule and participate in on their own time. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, it’s about the time. Common activities include going to get ice cream or going to a movie, playing catch or a video game, attending a sporting event or concert, hanging out at home and making dinner or running errands. We encourage Bigs to share time instead of trying to create new time. Bring your Little on activities you were already going to do. Keep it simple and focus on getting to know each other. BBBS also hosts great match activities and parties that all Bigs/Littles are invited to. Our Bigs are also occasionally given free tickets to events that Match Support Specialists are able to distribute to matches.
Yes, your orientation will serve as an in-person training and will walk you through situational scenarios to help prepare you for your match. In addition, your Match Support Specialist will be there every step of the way to offer customized support as your match progresses. We also partner with several organizations that provide workshops and trainings that are beneficial to all parties.
Big Brothers are always matched to Little Brothers. Big Sisters can be matched to Little Sisters or Little Brothers. Big Couples or Big Families are matched with Little Brothers.
A Big Couple is a pair of Bigs who are in a long-term relationship/friendship and want to be matched together to the same Little. Big Couples do not have to be married, but must be in a long-term relationship/friendship. A Big Family is a family that wants to be matched as a family with one Little. These options are great opportunities for couples or families that would prefer a shared experience as opposed to each of them having their own Little. We want our Bigs to integrate their Little into their lives and this often means your Little spending a lot of time with your family and friends. The benefit of a Big Couple and a Big Family is both adult Bigs have the option of going out one-on-one with their Little OR the whole group can go on outings together. Our Big Couples and Big Families love the flexibility this gives their Match.
We do everything in our power to make a Match that we think will last. However, we realize that sometimes things come up, Bigs or Littles move, situations change or something doesn’t work out. We will attempt to mediate the situation, but if it doesn’t work out, we will end the match. If this happens, your Match Support Specialist will be there to support you every step of the way and handle it in the best way possible.
We ask for a minimum commitment of one year for each match we make. Matches can remain active through elementary, middle and high school. Many of our friendships end up lasting a lifetime.