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School-Based Mentoring Program Overview

Dear Parent/Guardian,


Your child has the opportunity to participate in the Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring program.  School-Based Mentoring is a free program offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota.  Your youth will be matched with a Big (mentor)  who will meet with your child two to four times per month (length of time will vary depending on the age of your youth and schedules).   

  • These matches will meet in person or virtually depending on the CDC, MN Department of Health and /or School District recommendations.  The meeting time may be before school, during the school day or after school (depending on schedules and the school district).


  • The Big (mentor) and Little (mentee) will connect with one another, two to four times per month in person or virtually (via Google Meet or Zoom).  This will allow your child to build and share a friendship within a structured setting facilitated by a Big Brothers Big Sisters Program Coordinator.


  • Each “match” will focus on fun, activities (virtual or in person) with their Big, others Bigs and Littles (at times), and the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program Coordinator. The match will also work on building positive communication and social skills during their time together.  We will work with your child's teacher to get their feedback on suggested activities your child could work on with their Big.


  • Every volunteer “Big”, is interviewed, screened, and assessed for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program prior to being approved to be a mentor.  These mentors are adults from the community or high school students.


  • We will contact parents/guardians to give updates on the match relationships, acquire parental insight on each child's needs and help support each child to have a positive experience with their mentor. 


  • Matches will have the opportunity to communicate with each other outside the structured virtually mentoring times.  They are able to communicate through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Communication platform and by sending letters/post cards to each other.



Thank you,


Madeline Briekos- Program Coordinator for the St. Cloud School District | phone: 763.688.0205| email: Madeline@BigDefenders.org 

Jasmine Jensen- Program Coordinator for the Pierz School District | phone: 320.241.7996 | email: Jasmine@BigDefenders.org 

Callie Huus - Program Coordinator for Foley and Sartell St. Stephen School District | phone: 320.258.4530 | email: Callie@BigDefenders.org 

Robyn Rieland - Lead Program Coordinator for the Sauk Rapids-Rice S& Holdingford School District | phone 320.258.4512 | email: Robyn@BigDefenders.org

Inclusion Statement

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MN, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is an integral part of our values and mission.  We recognize, affirm, and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, lives, and experiences of our stakeholders, including youth, families, board members, donors, volunteers, and staff.  We ensure the opportunity for voices and perspectives to be heard and honored.  In the community, we foster an environment where people can be their best selves.


We affirm that every person [regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, gender expression, income, national origin, race or sexual orientation, marital or veteran status] has the opportunity to reach their full potential.  We strive to realize the full potential that is within all of us by ensuring that voices and perspectives are heard and honored.

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We will make every effort to honor your preferences for your child's mentor. BBBS does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, marital status, sexual orientation, or religion.

Interest Inventory







Confidentiality Policy


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota respects the confidentiality of client and volunteer records and, with the exception of situations listed below, shares information about clients and volunteers only among the agency professional staff.


All records are considered the property of the agency and not the agency workers, clients or volunteers themselves. Records are not available for review by the clients or volunteers.


1. Information will be released to other individuals or non-BBBS organizations only with the client or volunteer's written consent.


2. For purposes of program evaluation, audit, or accreditation, and with the prior approval of the Board of Directors, certain outside bodies such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America may have access to client and volunteer records.


3. Members of the Board of Directors or evaluators appointed by the Board have access to client files upon authorization of the Board of Directors.


4. Information shall only be provided to law enforcement officials or the courts pursuant to a valid and enforceable subpoena.


5. Information shall be provided to an agency's legal counsel in the event of litigation or potential litigation involving the agency.


6. State law mandates that suspected child abuse be reported to the appropriate authorities (law enforcement or social services).


7. If an agency worker receives information indicating that a client or volunteer may be dangerous to themselves or to others, necessary steps may be taken to protect the appropriate party. This may include a medical referral or report to the local law enforcement authorities. 


8. At the time a youth or volunteer is considered as a match candidate, information is shared between the prospective match parties. The information about the volunteer may include such items as: age, gender, race, religion, interests, hobbies, marriage, family status, sexual orientation, living situation, etc. Information about the child may include such items as age, sex, sexual identity, race, religion, interests, hobbies, family situation, etc.

Medical Release

Social Media Policy

Big Brothers Big Sisters recognizes that online social networking (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc.) has become a very popular communication tool and that many of our Bigs and Littles use these websites. In general, personal use of social networking sites is typically for communication between peers, including friends and family. BBBS wants to reiterate that the relationship between the Big and Little is that of a mentor in addition to a friend. Not all social networking sites are designed to support mentoring relationships.

 

Bigs: Please proceed thoughtfully when inviting or accepting an invitation from your Little to a social networking site. If you have any doubts, please contact your Program Coordinator and/or postpone your invitation or acceptance. If Bigs do choose to participate in a social networking site with their Little, they must adhere to the following guidelines regarding any postings related to your match or affiliation with BBBS:

 

  1.      Do not participate in any online communication with/about your Little unless you have discussed this with the parent/guardian and  Program Coordinator and have received their approval.

  2. Never post any pictures of your Little online if there is not a signed release on file with BBBS.
  3. Never post the last name of your Little, or his/her parent/guardian or tag them in a photo.
  4. Never post any contact information for your Little.
  5. Never post any identifying information about your Little (youth’s home address, where the parent/guardian works, etc.). Honor confidentiality guidelines within your match; be cautious when posting.

 

Parents/Guardians: Do not post photos of the Big without approval of the Big and the  Program Coordinator (the Big must have a signed release on file with BBBS).

 

Media Release


The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 is extremely contagious and is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person contact. As a result, federal, state, and local governments and federal and state health agencies recommend social distancing. 

Should you choose to participate or allow your child to participate in in-person match activities, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MN (BBBSCM) cannot guarantee that you or your child will not become infected with COVID-19. Further, contact between match parties could increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. 

Please continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota’s COVID-19 requirements to help lower risk of transmission. 


Parent/Guardian Agreement

By signing below, I give permission:


  1. For my child to participate in the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) School/Site-Based Mentoring Program (meeting in person for virtually;
  2. For the volunteer matched with my child, who has been screened and approved by Big Brothers Big Sisters, to personally interact with my child;
  3. To have my child participate in an intake interview conducted by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff and complete questionnaires throughout their time in the program containing questions about school, home life, the match, and personal interests to evaluate and improve program services;
  4. To have my child talk with a Big Brothers Big Sisters staff person about personal safety;
  5. For BBBS staff to provide contact information for me and my child to the volunteer;
  6. For Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MN and my child’s school/site to share and exchange social, family and academic (e.g. report cards, attendance reports, behavior reports) information about my child. Information will be shared on an ongoing basis with staff in participating programs to monitor your child’s progress. All information Big Brothers Big Sisters obtains regarding your child and their participation in our program is confidential.
  7. For my youth to communicate with their Big and the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program Coordinator in person, over the phone, using the BBBS communication platform, using other virtual technology, using mail, and/or via email.

 

I understand there will be no in-person contact between my child and the mentor outside of the school/site setting except for planned, supervised group activities provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters.  The Big is not allowed to babysit for my family.

 

I understand that the program is not obligated to match my child with a volunteer and that as part of the enrollment process, I will be asked to provide additional information through an in-person interview. I understand that the information I provide in the enrollment process will be kept confidential, unless disclosure is required by law.  I understand that incidents of child abuse or neglect, past or present, will be reported to proper authorities. I understand that certain relevant information about my child will be discussed with the volunteer who is a prospective match (i.e. demographic information, information relevant to volunteer preferences, and information relevant to child-safety and well-being).

 

I certify that all of the information on this form is true and correct and that all income is reported.  I understand this information is being given for the receipt of federal funds, that the information on this application may be verified, and that deliberate misrepresentation of the information may subject me to prosecution under applicable state and federal laws. I understand this information will not affect my qualification for the program.

 

I, on behalf of myself and my child, completely release and forever discharge Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MN and its employees, agents, members, volunteers and all other persons on its behalf, together with any successors in interest, heirs, attorneys, agents, representatives, and all persons acting by, through, under, or in concert with them from all known and unknown charges, complaints, claims, grievances, liabilities, obligations, promises, controversies, damages, actions, causes of action, suits, rights, demands, costs, losses, debts, penalties, fees, wages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and punitive damages of any kind or nature whatsoever, whether known or unknown, which I may have, or may have had, against Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MN arising from any participation in said program and activities, including but not limited to any liability to any right of action that may occur to such child directly, or to me as their guardian.  I intend and understand that this release and discharge is to be interpreted and enforced so as to provide the broadest release and discharge possible as may be permitted by law.  I understand that this information may be shared with the school or with partnership agencies when applicable.

 

If my child is matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister I agree to support my child’s match by reviewing the program and safety information given to me by Big Brothers Big Sisters, communicating with Big Brothers Big Sisters staff as outlined in expectations (which includes communication at least once a month in the first year of the match), and immediately reporting any concerns I might have to Big Brothers Big Sisters staff.

 

For your youth to have the best experience possible, at the beginning of each school year Big Brothers Big Sisters staff will automatically continue the match from the previous year or match your youth with a new mentor. Each year we will attempt to contact you to verify the information on your child’s application is current and to obtain permission for your child to continue in our program. If we are unable to contact you, we will continue on with the matching process. If at any time you wish for your youth to discontinue the mentoring program, or your youth has changed schools and you would like them to continue their match, please contact the Program Coordinator at 320-253-1616.