We believe that every child has the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).
If your child is eligible for Big Brothers Big Sisters, we will place him or her on the BBBS waiting list. When your child’s name approaches the top of the waiting list, you and your child will have an orientation to BBBS and an interview with a BBBS case manager. These are typically held in your home and the case manager will interview both you and your child. When an appropriate Big Brother or Big Sister is found, the case manager will share information about the volunteer with you.
Parents and guardians are an integral part of a Big Brothers Big Sisters match at every step of the process. Not only will you provide information about your child’s strengths and needs, but you’ll also approve the selection of the Big Brother or Big Sister.
Once the match is made, parents remain closely involved in several key ways, including:
- Asking your child questions about the match meetings, and reporting any concerns to the agency staff
- Participating in training on child safety offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff
- Communicating with your child about the training he or she receives
In the community-based program, parents also:
- Approve match activities and support their child’s involvement
- Regularly report back to the agency about their child’s progress and milestones in the match relationship.
Big Brothers Big Sisters will contact you regularly, but we welcome your feedback at any time.
The safety and well-being of the children we serve is BBBS’ highest priority. Before making a match, our Enrollment and Matching Team carefully screens volunteers to find the safest and most effective mentors. To help ensure child safety, each volunteer must complete a thorough screening process that includes:
- Completion of a formal written application
- A nationwide criminal history background check
- A county criminal history record check
- A motor vehicle record check (Community-Based volunteers)
- Drivers license verification (Community-Based volunteers)
- Insurance certification verification
- Child abuse/neglect check
- Social Security verification
- Three references
- A reference check for any ongoing time the volunteer has spent working with children
- An in-person interview
- An assessment of the volunteer’s home environment (for Community-Based mentoring)
- A professional assessment of the volunteer’s appropriateness to volunteer with a child
- An orientation and training process that outlines the individualized needs of your child and provides information and resources on how to encourage your child’s healthy development
After a match is made, our case managers maintain monthly contact with the parent, child and volunteer. These conversations serve not only to measure the health of the match, but to address any areas of concern.
Your case manager will also be available to you outside the monthly check-ins and you are encouraged to contact them with any questions or concerns.
Depending on the Big Brothers Big Sisters program you’re in, your child will meet with his or her volunteer mentor at the child’s school or in the community. In the BBBS Community-Based Program, your child will spend time with the mentor 2 to 3 times a month. In the School-Based Program, your child’s mentor will visit each week at the child’s school.
To be eligible your child must meet the eligibility criteria, which varies between the programs:
School-Based Client Eligibility Criteria
Our school-based program is currently serving youth at Madison Elementary and Jefferson Elementary in Fargo and Robert Asp Elementary in Moorhead. All referrals for this program are made by school personnel. If you have a child who attends one of these schools, and you would like him or her to participate in the school-based program, please contact the school counselor.
Community-Based Client Eligibility Criteria
As a parent, you can call us directly to enroll your child in BBBS. Please ensure your child meets all of the criteria below.
- The child must live in a home headed by a single parent and have limited relationships with other adults. If there is a significant other in the home or with whom the child spends consistent time, the child would not be eligible.
- The child must be between the ages of 6 and 14 when first matched.
- The child must be available to meet with a volunteer 4 to 8 hours per month for one year.
- The family must be a resident of Fargo, West Fargo, Horace, Moorhead, or Dilworth.
- The child must be lacking in adult relationships, extended family involvement, and other community adult resources.
- The child must demonstrate a need for service in one or more of the following areas: school performance, adult and/or peer relationships, behavior, self-concept.
- Children with an emotional, physical or behavioral disturbance to such an extent that the child’s needs are too severe for BBBS services to be appropriate will not be eligible for services and would be referred to other community services. Children with a disability must be at a level where they can understand and respond to screening interview questions, attach to a volunteer, and fully participate in match activities.
- If the child has been adjudicated delinquent and is awaiting disposition from the court, the application will not be processed until disposition is made. Eligibility requirements will then be reviewed with the parent.
- If a child resides outside of the home, the custodial caregiver must have written permission from the person who retains legal custody. The legal custodian must be agreeable to the child’s involvement in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
- The application of a child involved in a custody court action will not be processed until permanent custody is determined.
- The program has been explained to the parent/guardian and he/she has agreed to participate and follow agency guidelines/ground rules.
- The program has been explained to the child and he/she has voluntarily decided to participate.
Enroll Your Child
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