Big Application - School Mentoring Program 

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THANK YOU for applying to be a part of our School Mentoring program and helping us achieve our mission: to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth! As a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters school based program, you will have the opportunity to be a role model to a child in your community who is looking for guidance and friendship. This program would not be possible without YOU!

In order to be enrolled as a Big, there are 3 steps you must complete:

  1. Submit this application, with references!

  2. Schedule and attend an interview

  3. Attend a virtual training session

Our staff will review your application, check in with your references, and send you an email to sign up for an interview with us. 

We'll create amazing matches based off what we learn about you, and contact you to let you know when we find a Little for you! 

Program Overview

Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County (BBBS) is a non-profit agency that coordinates an afterschool one-on-one mentoring program at elementary schools across the county. Bigs (the mentors) are high school students like you and are paired with Littles (mentees) who attend elementary or middle schools. 

There are five different schools that we serve and where you go to high school will determine where you are placed for your school site. Volunteers make their own arrangements to be at their school site each week on: 

Tuesdays from 4:00-5:30 PM at Pacheco Elementary School (SLO)

Wednesdays from 4:00-5:30 PM at Hawthorne Elementary School (SLO)

Thursdays from 4:00-5:30 PM at Almond Acres Charter Academy (Paso) 

Bigs improve the lives of their mentees (Littles) by building healthy, strong relationships to nurture Littles’ potential through: playing games, sports, doing projects and arts & crafts, talking, providing homework help, and general downtime & fun!

Bigs and Littles are interviewed in order to assess their needs, strengths, and personalities.

Bigs and Littles are paired together (a match) for one-to-one interactions based on shared interests and ability to work well together.

BBBS staff will be present during every program to monitor and regularly check-in with matches, as well as to ensure safe and fun relationships.

This is a great opportunity for high schoolers to gain experience in mentoring and leadership, and looks great on Resumes and College Applications! 

Please contact the agency at any time with questions or concerns:

Marina Penna, Site-Based Manager, Call/Text: (805) 329-1956

Non-Discrimination Policy

Our participants come to us with a wide range of personal characteristics. We believe that participant eligibility shall be determined without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or disability. 

Hidden Fields

Basic Information

input NA if none

Note: Applicants 18 years of age and older must submit 3 background checks (local, state, and national) before being approved as a Big. If you are 18 or older, you will receive additional information from BBBS staff about these background check requirements and instructions on how to submit them.

Additional sexual orientation and gender identity questions are included in the demographics section for those who would like to provide more information.

File can be a screenshot, PDF, or picture

File can be a screenshot, PDF, or picture

Residence History

Contact Information

Additional Information

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Previous Experience

Demographic Information


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Parent/Guardian Information

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Type N/A if unemployed
Household Information

Medical Information and Release


References and Background Check

As a part of the volunteer application process, applicants need to provide three (3) references whom we can contact for a recommendation. One reference should be a teacher, school counselor, or coach. A second reference should be a friend or peer. The third reference has to be a parent or guardian.

When you submit your application, we will be contacting your references listed here with a request to complete a recommendation form. Please be sure that they are expecting this outreach from us! It is the applicant's responsibility to follow up with any references who do not submit their recommendation in a timely manner, and we cannot approve an application without receiving all three recommendations.

The recommendation forms include questions about how the applicant interacts with others, the applicant's strengths and weaknesses, and if the person filling out the form believes the applicant would make a good volunteer.

BBBS staff will be in touch with applicants when a reference has not responded and follow-up is needed.

Teacher/Counselor Reference
Please enter information for a teacher, counselor, advisor, coach, or mentor who knows you well.

Peer/Friend Reference
Please enter information for a peer or friend, do not use a sibling or cousin as a reference in this section.

Parent/Guardian Reference
Please enter information for the parent or guardian who will be completing your recommendation form. Please write SP next to their first name if they are Spanish monolingual.

Youth Service Organization Experience

I understand that:
  1. The references and youth organizations that I have worked for or been involved with as a volunteer whose information I have provided may be contacted by telephone or email.
  2. I am in no way obligated to perform any volunteer services.
  3. Big Brothers Big Sisters has the right to accept or deny program participants and is not obligated to match me with a youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters is not required to provide me with a reason if I am not accepted or matched with a youth.
  4. As part of the enrollment process, I agree to provide additional personal information to assist Big Brothers Big Sisters in making a recommendation for matching.

Confidentiality Policy 

In order for BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY to provide a responsible and professional service to clients, it is necessary for volunteers, clients, and parents (or guardians) of clients to be asked to divulge extensive personal information about themselves and their families.  This agency 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.  The right to confidentiality applies to written records, video, film, social media (including, but not limited to the internet, networking sites, blogs and personal websites),  photos, and/or any other depiction of the name, likeness, or other description of a client or volunteer in any publication or promotional material.  


All records are considered the property of the agency and not the agency workers, clients, or volunteers themselves.  In order to provide a service which is in the best interest of the children served by the program, information from outside sources, including confidential references, must be assessed along with information gained from the clients or volunteers themselves.  Records are not available for review by the clients or volunteers.  


When a Client/Volunteer is considered for a match, information is shared between the prospective parties.  Each party has the right to refuse the proposed match based on the information provided.  Prior to a match being made, information shared may include but is not limited to: first name, age, sex, race, religion, education, interests, hobbies, marriage and family status, sexual orientation, reasons for applying to the program, and a summary of the reasons an individual was chosen for the match.  The individuals to whom the information is provided shall agree not to share the information with any other person.  For the duration of the match and after formal closure, confidentiality is to be maintained by all program participants.


Limits of Confidentiality

Information will be released to other individuals or organizations only upon presentation of an authorized "consent to release information" form appropriately signed by the client, client's representative, or volunteer, except in the instance of suspected child abuse.


Identifying information regarding clients and volunteers may be used in agency publications or promotional materials only if the client or volunteer has given permission.


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.  These outside organizations shall be required to respect the agency policy on confidentiality.  Outside parties shall be required to use information only for the purpose(s) stated in the approval action of the Board of Directors.  Known violations of agency confidentiality policy will be reported to the supervisor of the individual involved, and appropriate disciplinary action shall be requested.


Directors of the Board shall be required to comply with the agency policies on confidentiality and may use the information divulged to them only for purposes stated by the approved action of the Board of Directors. 


Violations shall be reported to the Board President. A violation of the agency's confidentiality policy by a Director shall constitute adequate cause for removal from office.


Any subpoena requesting confidential information received by or served upon the agency shall be immediately delivered to the agency's legal counsel for review and appropriate action.  Only the agency's legal counsel shall have authority to determine whether or not any subpoena served on the agency is valid and/or unenforceable. 


Information shall be provided to an agency's legal counsel in the event of litigation or potential litigation involving the agency.  Such information is considered privileged material, and communications between the agency and its counsel are protected by confidentiality law. 


State law mandates that suspected child abuse and neglect be reported to the appropriate authorities. All workers are responsible for staying abreast of California reporting requirements and shall always comply with mandated procedures.


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


A known violation of BBBS’s Confidentiality Policy shall result in disciplinary action.  Depending on the seriousness of the violation, the action may be a written warning, suspension or termination of the match and/or employment.

Social Media Guidelines for High School Big Volunteers

It is very important to respect and maintain child safety, confidentiality, and privacy for all parties in the match.

Under no circumstance is social networking allowed with School Based Bigs and their Littles.

If Bigs post about being a volunteer with BBBS, that post may not contain any information about their Little, including but not limited to their Little’s name, description, or parent/guardian information. Bigs must never post any pictures of Littles online.

Big Brothers Big Sisters has the right to monitor the social media activities of our Bigs and other volunteers. If volunteers are discovered to be using social media inappropriately, the relationship between the Big and our organization could be terminated.

If you have any questions about this policy, please speak to the School Based Coordinator.

Consent and Release for Use of Image

I hereby accept the invitation of Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County to appear and be identified in print in any Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County publication or production, or grant the right to use my image as specified below.


I hereby grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County and its affiliates the right to use this image, name, and biographical information as they may desire, in all media and in all forms including, but not limited to, publications, any televised photography and recordings. Examples include, but are not limited to, print news media, televised news media, promotional print media and website.


I hereby grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County and its affiliates the absolute right to use this image made through Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County studios or elsewhere, in whole or in part, in true or distorted character or form, alone or in conjunction with any other image, name or reproduction, in color or otherwise, for art, advertising, business, trade, or any other lawful purpose whatsoever, in perpetuum.


I hereby release Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County and its affiliates from all claims, demands or liabilities and related financial costs that may now or hereafter arise in connection with Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County's exercise of the right hereby granted, with my appearance in any publication or production. These include, without limitation, claims for compensation, defamation, or invasion of privacy, or other infringements or violations of personal or property rights of any sort whatsoever. 

Program Guidelines and Ground Rules for Volunteers                                                                      

  • You and your Little meet for one and a half hours during every week that school is in session. Our program does not meet during holidays and breaks.

  • Once accepted, you will be given an awesome t-shirt. Please wear this t-shirt to your meetings with your Little. 

  • The relationship with your Little is 1:1. There will be times when we work as a group with other matches, but your primary focus is on your Little.

  • THERE ARE NO SECRETS ALLOWED at Big Brothers Big Sisters. This protects you and your Little. If your Little wants to share a secret, say that you will have to share it with BBBS staff for safety reasons. We will discuss good versus bad secrets.

  • Do not take ANY photos or videos of your Little. Do not post ANY photos or videos of the Littles anywhere.

  • Your Little - a child - is counting on you to be there. Do not miss more than 3 days. No dentist, doctor, driving lesson, etc. appointments should be scheduled during the program. You are committing to someone else, so please make the commitment to be there.

  • If you are ill or must be absent, text the School Based Coordinator. We need to let your Little know, so they do not feel sad or wonder where you are. You are required to send a brief message for your Little explaining that you are out and that you look forward to seeing him/her next week.

  • All personal information you learn about your Little and his/her family is confidential unless you think it presents a safety issue. If you have a safety concern, let BBBS staff know immediately.  DO NOT WAIT for the next scheduled program. Contact the School Based Coordinator.

  • You are responsible for immediately reporting any suspicion you have of abuse, neglect, or illegal activity. You are not responsible for investigating this suspicion. You are only to report it to BBBS staff by calling the School Based Coordinator.

  • Do not discuss inappropriate topics with your Little. This includes: drugs, alcohol, sex, partying, etc. If your Little brings up any of these topics, let them know it is ok to be curious, but those topics should be talked about with a parent/guardian. If the Little is persistent, call the School Based Coordinator.

  • Cell phones are NOT to be used during program, except for emergencies. Any content (music, photos, etc.) you would like to share with your Little must be approved by BBBS staff ahead of time. Remember, this is your dedicated time with your Little. Texting & messaging friends can wait.

  • BBBS Staff perform monthly Match Support Check-Ins to ask you how your match is going. These monthly check-ins are mandatory for participation in our program and are essential for your safety and your Little’s safety. You must return the text or email from your Match Support Specialist within 2 days of their message. However, you do not need to wait for this check-in to voice a concern or question. If you have any concerns or are struggling with any issues in the program, do not wait - let us know right away. We are ALWAYS here to help you!

  • At the beginning and end of the school year, you will complete surveys about your match.

  • If you change schools, move, or get a new phone number, please let the School Based Coordinator know ASAP.

  • If you are receiving credit for community service, your community service hour forms need to be turned in TWO weeks before the end of program. We are also happy to write letters of recommendation for school, employment, other volunteering, etc., but appreciate being given the appropriate amount of time to complete them.

  • General school rules include but are not limited to:


* No Phones during Program time

* Remain in the visual boundary of BBBS Staff - if you can't see us, we can't see you

* The restroom area is not a play area

* No nut or tree-nut products allowed

* Additional rules are included in the SB Bigs manual and will be discussed during training

Final Thoughts?