Beingtherefor
themisabigdeal

The potential to grow into amazing grownups. The potential to create, lead, and thrive. The potential to do big things. Every child has potential. And every child could benefit from another mentor and friend to ignite it.

When you volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan, you can be that spark. Sign up as a Big and you can help a child (Little) fully realize the potential they’ve had all along.

BecomeaBig

A big sister and little sister standing together smiling.
Everyday activities can mean everything

Mentor a child on your own or with your partner, sibling, or best friend, as a Big Duo, or with your family as a Big Family. You and your Little can share everyday activities you already enjoy. Play a game or sport. Go on a hike. Read or draw. Visit a park or museum. Or just listen and nurture their inspiration. The opportunities to make a big impact are limited only by your imagination.

Bigs and Littles meet in person for two hours twice a month for a minimum of one year.

Making a meaningful match

Finding a match that’s successful for both mentors and mentees is important. That’s why we make sure Bigs share common interests with Littles, so the foundation for their friendship is already in place. We call this “intentional matching,” and it’s a big part of what makes our approach special.

Each Big and Little is assigned a Mentoring Relationship Specialist, who checks in, provides consistent coaching and support for the entire friendship.

Ready to get started? The first step to a match is completing our online application. You can also learn more about our enrollment process on our blog.

5 steps to become a Big: 1. Complete the application 2. Participate in a 2-hour interview 3. Have background and reference checks completed 4. Participate in a 2-hour facilitated training 5. Upon acceptance: wait until potential match is made!

Ways to get Involved

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

Community Mentoring

The traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters program, in this opportunity you and your Little will explore new places and things in the community and build a friendship based on a common interest.

Mentor individually or with your best friend, partner, or sibling as Big Duo, or with your entire family as a Big Family. You can make a BIG impact in just two hours, twice per month.

Meet the Roobols and Jeremiah, a Big Duos match, and learn more about the Big Duos program on our blog.

Big Pride

Are you LGBTQIATS+? Get matched with and help ignite the potential of a Little (age 6 to 16) who is also LGBTQIATS+. 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.

A big brother and a little brother wearing matching face masks and pride shirts.
Two people stand next to each other outside, wearing BBBS hats. One is holding a football, outstretched toward the camera.

Sports Buddies

In Sports Buddies, local adult volunteers will mentor a child 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.

Sports Buddies is designed to match adult volunteers with youth who have a shared interest in sports, fitness, or just being active. Sports Buddies is for everyone; mentors don’t have to be athletes to make a BIG impact! Learn more about Sports Buddies, including answers to some frequently asked questions on our blog.

High School Bigs

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

Our high school partners
  • Gull Lake High School
  • Parchment High School
  • Portage Northern High School
  • Schoolcraft High School
A teenage little in a Big Brothers Big Sisters shirt looks away from the camera
Volunteer with their back to the camera. The back of their shirt features sponsor logos and reads “Mentoring is a big deal.”

Partnerships

Partnerships make our mission possible. Partners and sponsors support us through…

  • Philanthropic gifts that drive growth
  • Employee-centric volunteer or donor partnerships
  • Collaborations that strengthen our community and commitment to serving individuals and families

Use your skills in a big way

You don’t have to be a Big to make a big difference. Whether you’re a photographer, painter, writer, or good with numbers, sharing your talent can help further our mission. Or, consider serving on one of our committees, alongside like-minded individuals, to help steer and support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan.