Bigs are adult friends and role models, not parents. That’s why we work with you, the parent, every step of the way. We regularly check in with you to see how things are going, present you with possible Bigs for your child and make sure to keep lines of communication open between you and the Big.
The children we serve must be between the ages of 6 - 14. Children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program must meet two of the following three requirements: 1. Qualify for free or reduced lunch at school 2. Come from a single-parent or non-traditional family (i.e. grandparent led, foster family, special needs, etc.) 3. Have a history of parental incarceration or have a school referral
First step: Call one of our offices to fill out a child inquiry form. We ask for your contact information and background about your family and the child you wish to enroll. Second Step: During open enrollment, we pick from our inquiry forms for child to enroll. Those who meet the requirements and are in good standing with the agency will be contacted to schedule a home enrollment. We listen to and honor the parent's wishes about the type of Big that will be matched with their child, whether it be race, age, religion or any other concern. This gives us an opportunity to talk with the child about what they want to do with their Big and their interests. Third Step: Once we come to your home for a home enrollment, we complete the file and your child will be placed on the waiting list for a Big. We will check in every six months to see if you are still interested in getting a Big for your child. Be assure that any child on the waiting list is someone that we are trying to match, it can take time to find the right mentor for each child. Fourth Step: When a potential “Big” is found, a meeting with you, the child, the new Big, and the Match Support Specialist is arranged for all of you to meet together. If you don’t feel comfortable with the person, you have the right to say “no, let’s keep looking.” You can say you don’t want to continue the match at any time. Guidelines for the Match For the first three months, the Big and Little do things out in the community while they get to know each other. After three months of being matched, they are able to do outings in the Big's home with permission from the parent. The Big and Little should be meeting about 2 -4 times a month. After six months, the Big is allowed to take them on day trips out of the county with a permission slip from Big Brothers Big Sisters. Parents have to sign this permission slip and the Big has to turn it into their Match Support Specialist. Our Match Support Specialists contact the parents, child and the Big monthly to see how things are progressing and ask if there are any issues or concerns. Once a match has reached their first anniversary together, these calls switch to every three months.
You can call the Match Support Specialist ANY time you have a question or concern. Our goal is to have every match last at least one year, but we strive for a lifelong friendship between the child and Big. We want you to feel comfortable with the program, because matches are proven to last longer when parents are supportive of the Big and Little friendship.
Child Safety is our #1 priority
The safety of all children in the program is our number one priority.We require fingerprints of all our volunteers and run an extensive background check on each volunteer which looks at criminal records and DMV records. Bigs are required to provide us with three references of personal and professional backgrounds. Our agency also conducts thorough interviews to assess for red flags that might indicate a potential problem. In addition, our staff are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse. If a mentor or parent/caregiver has any concerns about possible abuse or neglect, please contact us so we can contact Child Protective Services. In emergency situations after regular business hours, please call your Match Support Specialist or Executive Director Diane at 559-283-3842.
Parents as Partners
Parents and caregivers entrust their children to us and the Big, and we take that responsibility seriously. By working together, we are putting the positive growth and development of the child first. We partner with you and others to create a better future for the children in our region – including yours.
How can parents help us in other ways? Recruit more Bigs You know the value of having a Big for your child. If others in your workplace, church, or elsewhere might be good friends and role models for other children, please let them or us know, especially if they are men. We have many children, especially boys, on the waiting list waiting for a Big. They crave the same kind of extra attention that your child is getting from their own Big. Help recruit more Little Sisters Many women have told us that they wish they had a Big Sister when they were growing up. Girls are less likely to “act out” or have behavior problems than boys, so they are not referred to our program as often but girls need support and guidance too. They are at risk of dropping out of school, doing drugs, or getting in trouble. We have more women volunteering to be Bigs than we sometimes have Little Sisters available. If you know of a girl that could benefit from a mentor, contact us at one of our offices. Help raise money It’s simple. The more money we raise, the more children we can match with a Big in our program. If your church or school’s PTA chooses a charity to benefit, suggest Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California. Gather a group of friends together to raise funds by making a team for our upcoming Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser . We can help you get involved with our agency fundraisers. Contact our Director of Operations, Alex Huerta for more information.
Enroll your child today!
If you are interested in enrolling your child today, call one of our three offices here in the Central Valley to fill out an inquiry over the phone. Or you can fill out the child application below and send it to your county's local office - our addresses can be found here.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California - 4047 N. Fresno St Fresno, CA 93726 - 559.268.2447 www.bigs.org Powered by Giveffect