Become A Big - Volunteer Application

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Congratulations on taking the first steps to become a "Big" volunteer mentor!  

The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Big Brothers Big Sisters focuses on one-to-one mentoring relationships which help youth in the program build their self-esteem, foster stronger relationships, have higher aspirations, and set and achieve goals. 
Non-Discrimination Policy
Big Brothers Big Sisters Southern Lake Michigan Region follows a non-discrimination policy that prohibits exclusion of potential volunteer Bigs, youth, parents/guardians, board members, or agency staff on the basis of race, color, religion, age, pregnancy, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, veteran status, marital status, or any other protected class.
Becoming a Big 

Being a Big is not complicated or time consuming. By showing up, being consistent, and being dependable you will make a positive, long lasting impact on the life of a Little!

If you are over the age of 18, have the desire to be a mentor, role model, and friend to a child in your community, and love to have fun - you have got what it takes to be a Big! 

As you consider becoming a Big, think about any significant life changes that can negatively impact your ability to spend time with your Little. While none of the events listed below disqualify you from becoming a Big, we do want you to to consider them as they could ultimately impact the quality and length of your match. Looking forward two years do you anticipate the following significant life events?

  • Changing jobs or employment status
  • Martial or family changes (marriage, divorce, pregnancy, adoption, caring for a parent, etc.)
  • Moving (within or out of town)
  • School status (busy semester, traveling abroad, changing schools, graduating)
Being a Big isn't about finding time to spend with your Little. It is about inviting a young person into the life that you are already living.

From the moment you are matched, the agency provides professional support by offering mentoring resources, free or budget friendly ideas for activities, and occasional agency sponsored group activities, such as ice skating, picnics, roller skating, and more!

Overall, the agency is funded by private donations, grants and fundraising activities. The agency is a not-for-profit organization and contributions are tax deductible. Participants are not required, but encouraged, to help with fundraising and promotional activities. 

To apply for any of our programs, you will need to have names and email addresses for references. If you have worked or volunteered with youth within the last five years, we will also need the name and contact information for the organization you worked with. 

Be prepared to upload an image of your driver's license or State ID. If you are applying for Community Based or Site Based Plus programs, you will also need a copy of your current proof of auto insurance. 

Click NEXT PAGE to begin! 


Basic Information

If none input "N/A"

E.g. - Jr., Sr., II

If not applicable, please input N/A.

Input date format as dd/mm/yyyy

Use CTRL click to multi-select all that apply.

Enter date format as dd/mm/yyyy

Contact Information

Emergency Contact

Home Address

If you have not lived in any other states, please input N/A.

Student/Employment Information

Additional Information

Program Interest and References

Program Interest

Community Based Program

Community Based matches do ordinary, everyday things. Bigs and Littles may have interests in common, such as fishing, cooking, baking, a love of arts and crafts, or maybe the Big has a special talent that the Little would like to learn about! They may try new things together, attend special events, or even volunteer together. A Community-Based Big can pick their Little up just to hang out, run errands, grab a bite to eat, or go for yummy ice cream treat.

The youth and volunteer generally see each other 2-4 times each month for 1-5 hours. Bigs and the Little’s caregiver work together to schedule a good time for outings.  

Before applying to become a Community Based Big, ask yourself if you can... 
  • Meet consistently with your Little for at least an hour twice a month.
  • Commit to being a Big to your Little for at least 12 months. The greatest impacts are made when a child has been matched with their mentor for at least a year.
  • Dedicate the time you carve out of your schedule for outings to be just for you and your Little. One-on-one time is essential to helping your Little achieve their full potential.
  • Maintain contact with BBBS each month. We will be there to support your match relationship and answer your questions, offer advice, to help you and your Little have a safe and fun relationship, and to share match activity ideas.
  • Have your own reliable transportation for meeting with your Little.
General Site Based Program
Site-Based mentoring is a one-to-one mentoring program with the child at their school, after school program, or community center. Of course the match could discuss schoolwork, read together, complete homework, but this is not a tutoring program. The emphasis is on friendship and guidance. Volunteers who participate in the Site Based mentoring program meet with their Littles for 30 minutes to an hour at least once every other week throughout the school year. Matches in the program do not meet outside of the Site Based setting. Site Based matches usually play board games, do homework, make art together or just hang out, talk and get to know each other. 

Currently BBBS SLMR has active site based programming in South Bend, IN at Coquillard and McKinley Elementary Schools and the Charles Black Community Center. We also have an active site based program at Ballard Elementary School in Niles, MI. We are currently working to expand our site based programs so if you are interested in this program and you don't see a site near your location - don't be discouraged! 

Enrollment for site based programs is open January through July and you are matched with a Little in August. 

Before applying to become a Site Based Big, ask yourself if you can:
  • Meet consistently with your Little for at least a half hour every week or 45 minutes every other week.
  • Commit to being a Big to your Little for at least one full school year.
  • Dedicate the time you carve out of your schedule during lunch time or possibly after school. 
  • Maintain contact with BBBS each month. 
  • Have your own reliable transportation for meeting with your Little.
General Site Based Plus

The Site Based Plus program is a combination of the Site-Based and Community-Based programs. 

Big with Badges
For Law Enforcement Officers, State Troopers and Badge Carrying Public Servants

Bigs with Badges is a program aimed at recruiting local law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and any other badge carrying public service workers to serve as mentors to youth. Meetings between the Big and Little take place anywhere from one to four times per month, with each interaction averaging one to three hours. The program is offered in Community Based, Site Based, and Site Based Plus frameworks.  

If you are unsure, please select the program that best fits your interest and BBBS staff can help you choose the program that's right for you. Please only select a Bigs with Badges program if you are a badge carrying public servant. Thank you!

If you are unsure, please select the program that best fits your interest and BBBS staff can help you choose the program that's right for you. Please only select a Bigs with Badges program if you are a badge carrying public servant. Thank you!

Please provide at least at least three references.

A reference from a Spouse or Significant Other is required. Substitute a family member if you do not have a Spouse or Significant Other. Please only list references that you have known for at least one year.

MUST BE AT LEAST 1 YEAR. Please do not enter months.

MUST BE AT LEAST 1 YEAR. Please do not enter months.

MUST BE AT LEAST 1 YEAR. Does not have to be current employer. Please do not enter months.
Youth Service Volunteer Experience
If you have worked with children in any capacity within the last 5 years, we need to speak with someone who can provide information about your interaction with kids. 

Examples of serving youth could include being a youth group pastor, Sunday School teacher, counselor at a camp, babysitting, nannying, teaching, coaching, etc. Think of this as a question asking about your experience/interaction with any children who are not in your family. 

Please do not enter months.


Weapons & Firearms Policy

While some adults possess weapons for hunting and/or protection purposes, it is the policy of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) that all agency volunteers agree:


1. To inform BBBS of the ownership of weapons or the presence of weapons in the home. BBBS staff will discuss the ownership of weapons during the volunteer’s interview and/or home assessment, and update that status for the life of the match. For purposes of this policy, “weapons” may include all firearms, zip guns, knives (except for kitchen knives that are not used or intended for use as a weapon or to inflict bodily injury) and explosive devices.

2. To ensure that weapons and ammunition are inaccessible to the child assigned to you by BBBS and to any other child participating in a BBBS activity, while the child is under your supervision. A Volunteer who owns firearms and stores them at his/her residence or any other location will lock the weapons in a safe or install trigger locks whenever a Little is at or near the storage area.  Ammunition must be stored separately from firearm or it can be locked in a safe with the firearm.  


3. To adhere to the policy that a volunteer will not carry a handgun or weapon (even if volunteer has a “concealed carry license”) at any time while accompanying the child assigned to you by BBBS or accompanying any other child participating in a BBBS activity (with the exception of law enforcement officers who are required to carry a weapon at all times and have received prior approval from BBBS).


4. To understand that BBBS will disclose to the parent or guardian of the child assigned to you by BBBS the agency’s weapons policy and the volunteer’s admission of weapon ownership or the presence of a weapon in the home. The parent/guardian and the volunteer will sign an acknowledgement of the ownership of a weapon and the form will be kept in the child’s permanent file.

5. To obtain written permission from the child’s parent/guardian and from BBBS before engaging in any activity in which a weapon may be used with the child assigned to you by BBBS or with any other child participating in BBBS activities.

6. To abide by any other policy or procedure that BBBS may put into effect regarding weapons. 

Video/Photography & Social Media Release

Social Media Policy

Purpose & Scope of Policy

When used appropriately, BBBS believes that social media is a tool that can be utilized in the communication and strengthening of the bond between the Big, Little, Parent and agency. Social Media includes, but is not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Myspace, blogs, buzzfeeds, snapchats and other sites.

As a condition of being a Volunteer Big, volunteer Bigs must read, understand, and agree to abide by this Policy.  Failure to adhere to this Policy may result in the early termination of a match relationship.

Affiliate Position on Use of Social Media

BBBS encourages volunteer Bigs to using age appropriate Social Media with Littles, Little’s parent/guardian(s), family members in accordance with the guidelines of this policy.

BBBS requires volunteer Bigs and parent/legal guardian(s) of the Little to actively opt-in or opt-out of participation in social media with regards to the match relationship. In order for the Big to post any picture or name, the primary parent/guardian’s consent must be given. Otherwise, only generic information may be used.

If either party does not consent, the other party may not specifically identify or communicate with said party within the context of social media.

If a Parent/Guardian or Big chooses to not opt-in and sign the Photo/Social Media Release form, examples of prohibited activities include:

            -Posting photos of person

            -Tagging or Listing of name in a post or photo

            -Checking in at particular locations, specifically identifying the Big or Little

Overall Monitoring of Safety, Confidentiality & Privacy

If a Big or Parent/Guardian chooses to use social media within the context of the match relationship, the Big and Parent/Guardian shall agree to the following:

-Terms of use of specific Social Media sites

Upon opting in, each Volunteer Big/Parent/Guardian will certify that s/he has reviewed the terms of use/service and any applicable privacy policy and /or provisions on minors of the Social Media sites that they intend on using with the Littles.

-Privacy settings

Upon opting in, each volunteer Big, if using Social Media with their Little, has customized their Social Media settings to ensure that no personal information is viewed by the general public, in order to protect the Little from searches by or contact from the general public.

-Monitoring for legal, respectful, appropriate content

Upon opting in, each volunteer Big will monitor their Social Media sites to ensure that all posts and posted materials, whether by the volunteer Big or a third party, are respectful, legal, and appropriate.  If a party observes any social media interactions that are disrespectful, illegal, or inappropriate material, the other party is instructed to contact MSS immediately.

-Enhanced restrictions for access to site by Little

Upon opting in, each volunteer Big will use Social media privacy controls and settings to restrict accessibility of the Little to age appropriate content, including wall comments.

-Process for reporting misuse, endangerment

Upon opting in, each volunteer Big understands what to do in the case of viewing any information on the Little’s Social Media site that may endanger that Little’s health, safety, and welfare.  Volunteer Big should contact MSS immediately and understand that it is required by Indiana State law to report child abuse to law enforcement personnel.

-Confidentiality / Privacy of Little/Little’s family

Upon opting in, volunteer Bigs should not disclose personal information about the Little or their family. Information might include but are not limited to: address, phone number, first and last names, private locations, occupations, other members of the family or problems and concerns that would required match support conversations. Volunteer Bigs are permitted to share match activities, success stories and positive feedback about the program.

-Access to information and reposting from the affiliate’s site

Whether opting in or opting out, volunteer Bigs are not allowed to repost content from any “Bigs Only” pages on BBBS’s Facebook page or private section on the BBBS website, particularly if the content not available to the general public. However, volunteer Bigs are permitted and encouraged to share and repost information from the BBBS’s public Facebook page and website, especially promoting fundraising and recruitment efforts of the agency.

-Promotion and attribution

When a participant posts something regarding the agency, BBBS requests that participants consider the impact (positive or negative) of such posts. Volunteer Bigs should represent that their opinion(s), belief(s) and statements are personal, and do not represent the opinion(s), belief(s) or statements of BBBS.


- Investigation non-compliance

BBBS will not actively monitor the volunteer Bigs Social media sites; however, if there is a complaint or inquiry, or BBBS becomes aware of a potential violation of this policy or any other, then BBBS has the right to access the volunteer Big’s Social Media site for compliance purposes.

-Consequences of non-compliance

Based on the severity of non-compliance, consequences may range from putting the match on hold to termination of match relationship. If at any time BBBS observes anything that it suspects might put the child’s safety at risk, the agency will exhaust all methods to protect the safety of the child.

Process for distribution of Social Media Policy

This policy will be distributed to volunteer Bigs and Parent/Guardians at the time of Enrollment.

Social Media Platforms Used
A part of our enrollment process requires us to check applicant's social media presence. If you use social media, please indicate which social media platforms you use and your username/handle. 

Confidentiality Agreement

Social Security Number Agreement

The social security number will be collected by BBBS Staff during the enrollment process and entered automatically into the secure Match Force (MF) computer system provided to our agency by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The purpose of entering the social security number into the MF system is the following:

To verify that the social security number of the volunteer applicant does not match the social security number of any volunteer applicant previously determined inappropriate for volunteer service in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America MF data system.  If flagged by the MF system, an agency professional staff person will be alerted and will be required to follow up with the volunteer applicant within five (5) days to corroborate that the applicant is the same individual identified by the system. A copy of this agreement will be provided to all volunteer applicants upon request for their review. A social security number cannot be secured without the receipt of the signed release from the volunteer applicant providing the social security number. The signed release of the social security number (absent any written social security number) will be kept in confidential files.

Upon clicking the box below, I agree to willingly share my social security number with Big Brothers Big Sisters Southern Lake Michigan Region for the purpose of entry into the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America national Agency Information Management System data base in order to ensure that I have never been determined to be inappropriate for volunteer service to children by a Big Brothers Big Sisters’ agency member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America network. I understand that the MF system is fully encrypted and is not available to any/all persons. I understand that any printed or digital copy of my social security number will be shredded/blacked out upon entry into the MF system.

At any time while involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, I agree to immediately inform my Big Brothers Big Sisters contact person of any and all infractions, violations, charges and convictions related to any civil, domestic, or criminal occurrences. I understand that BBBS staff needs to be fully informed to provide the best guidance or support possible.

Participation Agreement



1. The references and youth serving-organization I listed may be contacted by mail, telephone, email, or in-person;

2. The information I have provided may be used to conduct background checks, to include a search of public domain records, driving records check, juvenile and adult criminal history check, military records, and other records where required by local, state, or federal law for volunteers working with youth.

3. I am in no way obligated to perform any volunteer services.

4. The BBBS agency is not obligated to match me with a youth and may deny my application or close my match at any time, and to protect all participants’ confidentiality, BBBS is not required to disclose reasons for doing so.

5. Other BBBS agencies and youth organizations where I have worked or volunteered may be contacted as references.

6. As part of the enrollment processes, I will be required to provide additional personal information, including completion of an in-person interview.

7. 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 below. 

8. I understand that incidents of child abuse or neglect, past or present, must be reported to proper authorities.

9. I understand that certain relevant information about me will be discussed with the parent/guardian of a child who is a prospective match (this might include demographic information, information relevant to parent/child preferences, and any information relevant to a child’s safety or well-being).

10. It is my responsibility to update the agency if any of the information I provide on this application, in my interview, or any other information provided during the enrollment process changes (i.e. address, phone number, auto-insurance, new criminal charges, etc.).

11. I agree to timely communication and follow-up with all agency staff.

I understand that this is an application for a volunteer opportunity and is not a promise or commitment by Big Brothers Big Sisters Southern Lake Michigan Region.

I certify that all information I have provided or will provide to Big Brothers Big Sisters Southern Lake Michigan Region, including this application, is true, correct and complete to the best of my knowledge. I certify that I have and will answer all questions to the best of my ability and that I have not and will not withhold any information that would affect my application for a volunteer position. I understand that information contained on my application will be verified by Big Brothers Big Sisters Southern Lake Michigan Region. I understand that misrepresentations or omissions may be cause for my immediate rejection as an applicant or my termination as a volunteer.

I fully understand my responsibilities and requirements in the match relationship and as a participant of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.  I agree to comply, to the best of my ability, with the Guidelines and Ground Rules set forth.

Electronic Signature

After clicking SUBMIT you will be prompted to sign and enter your email address. Then you will receive an email with a confirmation and a copy of this document. Thank you!