Now Introducing: Sports Buddies!
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan (BBBSMI) is proud to launch Sports Buddies, a brand-new mentoring program. In Sports Buddies, local adult volunteer mentors (Bigs) will mentor a child (Little) during spectator and active sports events. Mentor/mentee matches will meet 1-2 times per month, typically on Saturdays, at events hosted by BBBSMI staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to be an athlete to participate?
No! Sports Buddies is for everyone, you just have to want to play and watch sports.
Is this program exclusive to Kalamazoo?
No. We serve Bigs and Littles who live in Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Van Buren, and Allegan counties. However, Sports Buddies events will happen in the Kalamazoo area, initially. Bigs and Littles both need transportation to the match activity or sporting event happening in Kalamazoo. As the program grows, we will add events in Calhoun, Van Buren and Allegan counties.
How do Littles get to the program events?
The parent/guardian of the Little will be responsible for securing transportation to each event for their child. Sports Buddies matches are not permitted to be in contact outside of these events.
What is the commitment?
Sports Buddies matches will meet 1-2 times per month, typically on Saturdays, at events hosted by BBBS for a minimum of 6 months. While we require a six-month investment of time for both Bigs and Littles, we’ve found that many matches last beyond six months.
What are the requirements for Littles to enroll?
Littles in the Sports Buddies program must be between 6-16 years old and willing to commit to the program for at least 6 months. Littles and their parent/guardian will need to complete the enrollment process, which includes an interview and training. You can learn more about the enrollment process and sign up here.
Once matched, Littles and their parent/guardian are required to participate in monthly check-ins with their assigned Mentoring Relationship Specialist, who will provide support and coaching to each participant for the duration of the match.
What are the requirements for Bigs to enroll?
Bigs in the Sports Buddies program must be at least 18 years old, have their own transportation, and be willing to commit to the program for at least 6 months. Potential Bigs are required to complete the enrollment process, which includes an interview, training, and a layered background check. You can learn more about the enrollment process here.
Once matched, Bigs are required to participate in monthly check-ins with their assigned Mentoring Relationship Specialist, who will provide support and coaching to each participant for the duration of the match.
Where do events take place?
There are two types of events open to Sports Buddies matches: participatory events and spectator events. Participatory events (like playing basketball or disc golf) will happen at local sporting centers like the YMCA. The same goes for spectator events. Bigs and Littles will receive a schedule of events and must both RSVP for an event before attending.
How do I sign up?
To enroll your child in Sports Buddies, please complete the application here.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please apply here.