The Big Siblings program seeks to develop consistent, long-term, one-on-one relationships of trust between the volunteer, or “Big,” and the child, or “Little.” This program provides an opportunity for the volunteer to have an impact on the life of a child who is in need of more positive relationships. The time spent together between the volunteer and the child independently each week results in the formation of a deep bond.
What will volunteers do?
Big Siblings is a high-commitment, high-reward program: it requires a lot of volunteers, but in doing so creates a strong foundation for a relationship between the Big and Little. Bigs will be required to exercise a lot of independence and initiative throughout their time in the program. Using a thorough match process, a volunteer will become a Big and serve as a mentor to a Little between the ages of 5 and 12 from the Charlottesville area. Littles are identified by guidance counselors at schools around the Charlottesville area. Bigs and Littles are matched based on similar interests and shared values.
Bigs and Littles will spend 2-3 hours per week together doing an activity in the Charlottesville community. Big Siblings requires that the Big has access to a car on Grounds, as the Big is responsible for picking up the Little from his/her house each week. The Big will also plan the activities each week. Some examples include going on a hike, watching a movie, baking cookies, and doing an art project. To aid in this, Madison House and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge send out a weekly calendar of activities happening around the area.
The Big must be able to commit to at least three consecutive semesters with his/her Little. If a Big is planning on studying abroad, he/she should plan on doing so only three semesters after the formation of the match.
How can I get involved?
The registration process for Big Siblings begins with a two-part application. The first part of the application is a Google Doc with some preliminary screening questions from Madison House and the second part is a SurveyMonkey form from Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge. After completion of the application, the Head Program Director will contact the applicant with further information.