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Sports Buddies Initiative Overview

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Thank you for your interest in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota (BBBS) Sports Buddies Initiative.  To help determine if the program is a good fit for your child, please learn more below.


What is the purpose?

The purpose of the program is for each enrolled youth to achieve higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships, education success, avoidance of risky

of risky behaviors.  National research has shown that being in a positive relationship with a volunteer mentor (we refer to them as "Bigs") has a direct and measurable benefit in a youth's life (we refer to the youth in our program as "Littles").  Littles in our program:

  • Are more confident

  • Are more likely to stay away from drugs and alcohol

  • Do better in school

  • Get along better with family and friends

  • Feel better about themselves

How does it work?

Sports Buddies is an initiative where one-to-one mentoring friendships are formed while participating in and spectating sports.  Activities are planned and facilitated by a BBBS Program Coordinator.  Matches will attend about 1-2 activities per month for about 2 to 4 hours.  The Little's family is responsible for coordinating transportation to and from all activities.  Bigs and Littles make a 6 month commitment with an option to continue their match after the 6 month mark.  The BBBS Program Coordinator will conduct all scheduling and communication between the Big, the Little and the Little's Parent/Guardian.  

Who are our Bigs?
Our Bigs are volunteers in our community.  They range in age from 18 to 70+ years of age.  The safety of all youth is extremely important to us, therefore each Big in our program must complete a thorough screening process conducted by a professional staff.


Who are our Littles?

Youth in our Sports Buddies Initiative must meet the following criteria:

  • Be between the ages of 8 and 16 at the time of enrollment

  • Reside in Benton, Morrison, Stearns, Sherburne and Northern Wright County

  • Be capable of benefiting from a relationship with a Big

  • Want a Big and understand the role of a Big

  • Have a parent/guardian willing to be a partner with us by maintaining contact and helping keep us informed of changes within the family/match

  • Able to commit to 1 or 2 activities per month on average and able to secure a ride to and from the activity.

We want to make sure that we find the best match for your child.  Just as it takes time for anyone to make new friends, it may take us a while to find the right Big.  Bigs and Littles are matched based on parent/guardian preference, similar personalities, geographic location and shared interests.


The next step in the process is to complete this application. We do need you to complete an application for each  child you would like involved in the Sports Buddies Initiative.


Thank you,

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MN 

Inclusion 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, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, or disability. 
Hidden Fields
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For notifications
Youth Information
Enter birthdate in the following format: mm/dd/yyyy
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Health Information

Parent/Guardian Information
Type NA if unemployed

Family Information

Physical Address
Existing Household Members
Please choose this youth's relationship to the following people:


Emergency Contact
Sports Buddies Questions
Additional Questions










(Answering yes to this question will not effect your child's acceptance in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program).

Interest Inventory

Please indicate the things that you (the Little) like to do and would enjoy doing/watching/talking about with your Big.
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 or 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 identity, race, religion, interests, hobbies, marriage, family status, sexual orientation, living situation, etc. Information about the child may include such items as age, gender identisy, 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.

 

Big Brothers/Big Sisters: 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

Parent/Guardian Agreement

By consenting below, I give permission:

 

  1. For my child to participate in the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Sports Buddies Initiative (meeting in person or virtually when not safe to meet in person) on average once or twice a month for about two to four hours;

  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 interview conducted by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff (this interview could be in person or virtual via Zoom or similar platform) and complete questionnaires throughout their time in the program containing questions about school, home life, and personal interests;

  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 my child to communicate with their Big and the BBBS Program Coordinator in person, over the phone, using the BBBS communication platform, using other virtual technology, using mail and/or via email.

I understand that there will not be in-person contact between my child and the mentor outside of Sports Buddies activities settings except for planned, supervised group activities provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters.  


I agree to provide transportation to and from all Sports Buddies/Big Brothers Big Sisters activities.


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 interview. I understand that the information I provide in the enrollment process will be kept confidential, unless disclosure is required by law and with exceptions noted.  I understand that incidents of child abuse or neglect, past or present, must be reported to proper authorities. (Big Brothers Big Sisters  staff and all Bigs are mandated reporters) 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 do hereby release the organization and its employees, agents, members, volunteers and all other persons on its behalf from any and all liability for any damage or injury which such youth might sustain while participating 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 understand that this information may be shared with the school or with partnership agencies when applicable.

 

If my youth is matched with a Big, 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 every couple of months), and immediately reporting any concerns I might have to Big Brothers Big Sisters staff.