As a parent/guardian, you recognize your child’s potential better than anyone. If you live in Kalamazoo, Allegan, Calhoun or Van Buren counties, grow your village by signing them up to be a Little and adding another mentor to their life.

Bigs and Littles share everyday activities they already enjoy. Playing a game or sport, reading, drawing, or visiting a park or museum are all mentoring opportunities. We make sure that your child shares common interests with their mentor so the foundation for a successful friendship is in place.

Safety first, always

Your child’s safety is our highest priority. That’s why we take multiple steps to ensure their safety. Before we even begin the matching process, our team…

  • Thoroughly screens each Big through multiple background and reference checks
  • Conducts an in-depth interview
  • Trains each Big on how to support your child’s development and on program expectations

Big Brothers Big Sisters also offers you and your child safety tips, and of course, we welcome your questions and feedback.

Your Role

Parent/guardian involvement is crucial to a Little’s journey with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and there are plenty of ways you’ll stay connected:

  • Approving activities and outings for your child with their Big
  • Reporting your child’s progress to the agency on a regular basis
  • Telling your child about their Big’s thorough safety training

For more on how we match Littles to Bigs, read about our comprehensive child enrollment process.

The impact is real

of littles report stronger relationships
of littles perform better in school
of littles report increased self-confidence

When kids are paired with a mentor, they’re introduced to places and experiences that open their hearts and minds to a future filled with boundless possibilities.

But don’t just take our word for it. Research demonstrates the positive impact mentoring has on local children in our programs.

Open New Doors for Your Child

Clare and Jaliyah stand, smiling at the camera, holding out plates of tacos.

Community Mentoring

In two hours, twice per month, your child (Little) and their mentor (Big) will share activities and experiences they both enjoy. This is the traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring friendship.

Your child may get matched sooner in our Big Duos or Big Families programs. In Big Duos, two Bigs (best friends, partners, spouses, siblings, etc.) would mentor them together. In the Big Families program, an entire family would mentor them. More options will help your child be matched sooner and grow your village even more.

Sports Buddies

In Sports Buddies, local adult volunteers will mentor a child (ages 6-16) over a blend of spectator and active sports events. Mentor/mentee (“Big”/”Little”) matches will meet 1-2 times per month, typically on Saturdays, at events hosted by BBBSMI staff. The parent/guardian will be responsible for providing transportation to the Little.

Sports Buddies is designed to match Littles with a Big who has a shared interest in sports, fitness, or just being active. Sports Buddies is for everyone; mentees don’t have to be athletes to be a part of the program! Learn more about Sports Buddies, including answers to some frequently asked questions on our blog.

Two people throwing a basketball to one another.
A little adjusts his collar while looking away from the camera

High School Bigs

This unique program takes place at elementary schools, matching your child with a high school student mentor (Big). Your child benefits from having a Big, and High School Bigs benefit by developing their social, leadership, and future career skills.

Our elementary school partners
  • Haverhill Elementary (Portage)
  • Kellogg Elementary (Gull Lake)
  • Parchment Central Elementary
  • Richland Elementary (Gull Lake)
  • Ryan Intermediate (Gull Lake)
  • Schoolcraft Elementary

Big Pride

Do you have a child between 6 and 16 who’s LGBTQIATS+? Get them matched with a Big who also identifies as LGBTQIATS+ and help ignite their potential. Big Pride is a special collaboration between Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan and OutFront Kalamazoo. Learn more about the program and its FAQs here.

Smiling young black woman holding up a rainbow pride flag behind her.