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.
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.
Ways to get Involved
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.
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.
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 & 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
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.