How A Match is Made: Part One
Have you ever wondered how Big Brothers Big Sisters makes mentor/mentee matches? Our Service Delivery team works hard to make the best Big/Little matches possible. Each step of the process helps ensure match satisfaction, success, and child safety. This two-part blog series will explain the matching process from beginning to end.
PHASE ONE: POTENTIAL LITTLE ENROLLMENT
A parent/guardian begins the enrollment process by completing an application online. Then, an Enrollment Specialist (ES) reaches out to them to schedule an interview with both the parent/guardian and the child, or potential Little. During the interview, the ES identifies the child’s hobbies and interests, and assesses their personality. Further, the ES learns about the parent/guardian’s goals for their child, any preferences they have for the match, and gets to know them personally. During the interview, the ES is assessing a number of things including:
- Does the child want to be a part of the program?
- Is the child suitable, coachable, matchable, and eligible for the program?
- Is the child able to communicate clearly with an adult, helping to keep themselves and others safe?
- Do the parent/guardian and potential Little agree to communicate with our team on a monthly basis?
If the answer to these questions is yes, the ES marks their file as “Ready to Be Matched.” They are ready to move forward!
PHASE TWO: POTENTIAL BIG ENROLLMENT
When a potential volunteer Big completes their application online, the ES reaches out to them to discuss the next steps.
Every potential Big completes an interview with a skilled ES. During the interview, the ES is assessing the potential Big’s hobbies, interests, and personality. By the end of the 90-120 minute interview, the ES has a clear picture of who the potential Big is as a person, as well as their motivation for becoming a Big.
ORIENTATION AND TRAINING
Orientation and training are mandatory parts of the BBBS interview and screening process. During the initial orientation- eight short videos potential Bigs are required to view– potential Bigs learn about:
- Our agency
- Where our funding comes from
- Mentoring programs and their impact
- Our child safety protocols
- Volunteer commitment and expectations
- Eligibility criteria and the enrollment process
- Our COVID-19 response
- Our Bigs and Littles
Once a potential Big has completed orientation, they must complete an acknowledgment stating that they have viewed the videos and would like to move forward in the process. Next, they attend a virtual group training, where a dedicated staff member teaches them about:
- Ground rules
- Volunteer Big’s obligations and appropriate roles
- Expectations for the match relationship and relationship development styles
- What match support is and why we do it
- Child safety and youth protection
- Ages and stages of child development
- The match closure process
The training ends with an assessment of the knowledge each potential Big has gained. A potential Big moves forward in the process once they have passed the assessment.
BACKGROUND CHECKS & REFERENCES
Every potential Big must agree to participate in a series of layered background checks. Additionally, they provide 3-4 personal and professional references who agree to discuss their character and integrity. References and background checks provide the Enrollment team with any final information they need to determine whether the potential Big is a good fit for the program.
When a potential Big meets the requirements to be a part of the program, the ES marks their file as “Ready to Be Matched.” They are ready to move forward!