You want to provide someone with the same mentorship you received growing up.
Did you have a mentor in your life? Do you have one now? Sometimes, the best way to thank your mentor for their guidance is by becoming a mentor yourself!
Josh Rayborn, American Family Insurance sales planning manager, was inspired by his mentor growing up to help other kids reach their potential.
"I grew up in Chicago, and I was part of youth program. My mentor guided me through life and taught me how to dream big. When I moved to Indiana, I knew I wanted to be a mentor, and I reached out to Big Brothers Big Sisters to get involved."
You want to do something that fulfills you.
While youth mentoring is designed to help the child, it can also benefit the mentor. Take Amanda Robertson, a recruiter in Talent Acquisition at American Family; she was looking to do something meaningful with her time when she decided to become a big sister with the program.
“I had just graduated college and I wasn't doing a lot of valuable stuff with my time besides working. I did have two or three jobs, but other than that, I wasn’t doing anything truly valuable with my time outside of hanging out with friends and family. I wanted to make better use of my free time.”
Ready to Get Started?
Did any of these stories speak to you? If so, or if you’d like to learn more about youth mentoring, the next step is learning how the process works. We’ll walk you through the steps to take with the help of the bigs.
1. Look within your community to get involved
Step one: Get involved! While you could find someone to mentor on your own, many communities have programs specifically designed to connect you with a mentee. Use the power of the internet to look for mentorship programs near you.
In fact, there might be a Big Brothers Big Sisters near you — they have over 250 affiliates across the country after all!
While every location has slightly different requirements based on where you are, these are the requirements that are generally needed when you apply:
- Bigs must be over the age of 21
- Must be able to be in the program for the minimum required time of commitment in your area
- Possess a valid state-issued driver’s license
- Have access to an insured car
- Undergo a background check
- Provide a list of references
2. Find a match
After you sign up and follow the application process in your area, it's time to find you a match! Bigs and littles are matched mainly on personality traits, goals and similar interests by a match specialist.
The timeline of the application and matching process can vary. There are scenarios where you could be matched the day after you submit your application, or it could take a couple of weeks. Sometimes, however, it can take a bit longer. It took four months until Amanda was matched with her little.
“I really learned the power of patience during that time,” Amanda reminisces, saying, “I’d follow up a few times, and they assured me they were working on it. I was a bit confused about why it was taking so long. But then, after meeting my little, I realized she was the perfect match for me. I feel like they really matched our personalities, and the interview and application process had value. I think that's why it's been so successful.”
So, if you decide to go through Big Brothers Big Sisters or a different program for youth mentorship, remember to trust in the process and practice patience. It’ll be worth it in the long run!
3. Meet your mentee and their family
Once you are matched with your youth, it’s time to finally meet! This meeting is conducted with you, the little and their guardian and the match specialist.
Charles walked us through his experience meeting his little and his little’s family saying, “After you’re matched, you go to the little’s house with the match specialist and meet with the little and the parent. I think we were there for one or two hours. While you're there, you try to really understand each other; you ask things like where you are from, what you do, what you're interested in, what you're looking to get out of the program and other questions like that. It’s a chance for everybody to meet each other in an environment that's comfortable for the kid.”
Charles continued saying, “After that, there was yet another interview to see how that in-person session with the family went and if you felt like it was going to be a good match. The same follow-up interview is happening with the little and his guardian as well.”
Once both the big and little agree that this is a good match, it’s time for them to connect and spend time together. Let the youth mentorship begin!
4. Spend quality time together
While the minimum amount of time spent with your little required by Big Brothers Big Sisters differs between locations, most ask that you meet two to four times per month to spend quality time together.
What do you do together? Spending time with your little is special and fun! You both get to try new things and get to do something you haven’t been able to do since you were little!