More than 750 youth in Greater Philadelphia are waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister right now. Join us.
We’ve partnered with the National Football League’s Inspire Change initiative on a volunteer recruitment campaign called The Big Draft. It’s time to recruit the next class of life-changing mentors. Today, we’re saying to you, “You’ve got what it takes. We want you on our team!”
We know that inside every young person is innate potential.
It takes a caring and compassionate adult to unleash that potential. Mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters offers an opportunity to form a transformative, one-to-one, committed, non-judgmental relationship between an adult and a young person aged 7 and up.
Our Bigs serve as supportive, positive role models and mentors to our youth.
A successful mentor is someone who…
• Makes a personal commitment to spend time with their mentee
• Is consistent, patient, flexible and open
• Has the ability to listen and accept different points of view
• Has respect for individuals, their abilities and their right to make their own choices in life
• Has the ability to empathize with another person’s struggles
• Believes in the potential of our youth
Mentoring doesn’t take that much time…
• Mentors are asked to spend about two hours a visit with a mentee
• Mentors are asked to see a mentee at least two times a month
• Mentors are asked to make a commitment to their mentee for a minimum of one year
Mentoring occurs during fun & everyday activities!
Please ensure that you live in our service area before getting started with the application process. Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence works with volunteers in Philadelphia, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties.
You will be directed to a secure website to begin your application. Please have your driver’s license, social security number, auto insurance and personal references information ready.
Once you submit your online application, look for an email with next steps from one of our staff members and make sure to check your spam folder. The application process includes attending a Big Information Session, interviewing with an Enrollment and Match Specialist and completing required background clearances.
Not sure if you’re ready to be a mentor but want to get involved in other ways? Click here.
We'll find the program that's right for you!
The volunteer enrollment process along with the BBBS team, will help to determine the program(s) that best fit your needs. To get started complete Step 1 - Contact Request Form.Contact Request Form
MATCH STORIES - The Power of Mentoring
Justin / Michael - Matched Since 2012Program: Community-Based
Frequently Asked Questions
We ask for a minimum commitment of one year for each Match we make, but many of our friendships end up lasting a lifetime.
We do everything in our power to make a Match that we think will last. However, we realize that sometimes things come up, Bigs or Littles move, situations change or something doesn’t work out. We will attempt to mediate the situation, but if it doesn’t work out, we will end the Match. If this happens, your Case Manager will be there to support you every step of the way and handle it in the best way possible.
Once you are matched with your Little , a Match Support Specialist from the agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Match Support Specialist there to help. They’ll help you with ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations, and feedback on how you are making a difference.
In the beginning, it’s important for you and your Little to get to know each other. This can happen best on a one-to-one basis. However, over time it’s also valuable for your Little to get to know the people who are important to you. Just keep in mind that if you’re spending lots of time with others, your Little may begin to feel jealous or neglected. The main focus is the friendship you develop with your Little and the impact you have on his/her life.
The quality of time invested with your Little is more important than the amount of money you spend. That’s why we don’t encourage spending a lot of money on your outings. If you are going to spend money, we encourage you to seek out low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. BBBS Independence offers donor-supported group activities that are a great way to meet other Bigs and Littles. As a Big, you may also receive notices for free tickets to cultural and sports activities for you both to enjoy.
Anything you like. Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. Go to the library, check out a book and read together, play a board game, go on a nature walk, or just hang out and talk about the music you like. You want to select activities that give each of you a chance to learn more about one another, so we often recommend sharing an activity rather than creating a new one. Most important … keep it simple and enjoy yourselves!
Parents that enroll their children in the BBBS program want the very best for their children. They see the benefits of introducing another caring adult role model in the life of their child. Many say that their children’s Bigs are able to talk to their children about issues that are difficult for a parent to address. That is why parents often say introducing a Big has not only changed their son/daughter’s life but it has impacted the entire family. BBBS Independence only enrolls children who want and need the program and whose parents specifically want them to be in the program, so 100% of the children enrolled are ready and excited about being matched.
Our Bigs come from diverse backgrounds just like our Littles. They are regular people, just like you. You don’t need any special degrees or job skills – you just have to want to positively impact a young person by being their friend. Bigs must be ages 21 and over, able to commit at least 18 months to the program, and have a car if located outside of the city of Philadelphia
As a team, you decide together what you want to do, and then your Little must get parent or guardian approval. We recommend that you keep a consistent schedule of outings and get together on a regular basis (2-4 hours, 2-4 times per month). We provide free and low-cost activities for Bigs and Littles too!