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.

There is a severe need for men to volunteer and become Big Brothers within the Big Siblings Program. More than 60 percent of children waiting for a Big are boys, but only 3 out of 10 volunteer inquiries come from men. Research shows that having the positive influence of a Big Brother can make a real difference in a boy’s life. Additionally, a disproportionate number of the children we serve, and who are waiting to be matched, are African-American and Hispanic boys. Their parents seek our support, knowing that a Big Brother can help to recognize their son’s potential and model positive choices that would put him on the path to success, both in and out of school. Volunteer, and learn why so many Bigs say, “I get back so much more than I give.”

Volunteering with the Big Siblings Program has made a hugely positive impact on my UVA experience. Every week, I look forward to being a kid again with my Little Sib, whether we are seeing a movie, going bowling, or making cupcakes.”
— Maria Mencini (Col '16), Program Director with Big Siblings

wHO CAN volunteer?

  • Student with access to a car (that they are insured to drive).

  • Students who can commit to 3-semesters/12-months 

    • i.e. if a Big is planning on studying abroad, they should plan on doing so only three semesters after the formation of the match. 

    • Fourth years are also ineligible unless you plan on staying in Charlottesville post-grad. 

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 6 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.

Big Siblings requires that the Big has access to a car on Grounds, as the Big is responsible for picking up the Little from their 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.


Bigs and Littles will spend 2 hours per week together doing an activity in the Charlottesville community.

The Big must be able to commit to at least three consecutive semesters with their Little. If a Big is planning on studying abroad, they should plan on doing so only three semesters after the formation of the match.


How can I get involved?

Registration opens each semester at 9am on the first day of classes.

The registration process for Big Siblings begins with a two-part application. The first part of the application is through Give Pulse 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.


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