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. Learn more about the ways we work to keep children safe here.
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
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
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.
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.
High School & Middle School Bigs
This unique mentoring program provides value to High School/Middle School students (Bigs) by reinforcing social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies with their mentee (Little). Each Big will be matched with a Little who is an elementary or middle school student. They will meet at their Little’s school during the Little’s school day, at a standing day and time with support from their School Site Coordinator and their Mentoring Relationship Specialist (MRS).
Our high school and middle school partners
- Battle Creek Central High School
- Gull Lake High School
- Marshall High School
- Parchment High School
- Plainwell High School
- Portage Northern High School
- Schoolcraft Middle School
- Springfield Middle School
Do you have a child between 6 and 16 who’s LGBTQIA+? Get them matched with a Big who also identifies as LGBTQIA+ 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.