FAQ’s

Program


What is the purpose of Big Brothers Big Sisters?

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country creates and supports one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

By partnering with parents/guardians, volunteers, and others in the community, we are accountable for each child in our program achieving:

1. Higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships

2. Avoidance of risky behaviors

3. Educational achievement

Who are ‘Bigs’?

A ‘Big’ is a volunteer mentor who is matched in a one-to-one relationship with a child (‘Little’) in our program. A Big is a friend, a supporter, and a positive and consistent addition to the life of a Little. Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Big Couples or Big Families are not replacement parents, babysitters, or therapists. Instead, a Big is someone who shares a different perspective on life and helps their Little realize their endless potential.

Who are ‘Littles’?

A 'Little' is a child in our program between the ages of 5 and 18. Our Littles come from various backgrounds, neighborhoods and schools. Their backgrounds and personalities are unique, but they all have a need for friendship with a caring adult.

What is the benefit of mentoring?

We hold ourselves accountable to measurable outcomes for the kids in our program.  We conduct a Youth Outcome Survey (YOS) to see those real, measurable results for ourselves.  

  • Compared to their peers, our Little Brothers and Little Sisters have a higher level of trust in their parent. They are 37 percent less likely than their peers to report lying to their parents.
  • Compared to their peers, Little Brothers and Little Sisters are 46 percent less likely to initiate drug use.
  • Little Brothers and Little Sisters skipped half as many days of school as did their peers.

More information can be found at bbbs.org

What other volunteer opportunities are there?

If you are interested in joining a special event committee, becoming member of our board, or volunteering at one of our special events, click HERE to fill out a form to contact us.

How is my donation used?

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country is a financially independent BBBS agency. Your dollars stay local to help create meaningful matches between children 'Littles' and volunteer mentors 'Bigs'.  Lander Bachert, our CEO, is happy to call or meet with you in person to discuss the possibilities for your donation. Please call 406.587.1216 ext. 1 to speak with her directly. 

How can I donate a product or service to benefit BBBS of Big Sky Country?

Products and services donated to our agency help keep our costs down so more of our funds can go directly to supporting our mentoring program. To donate a product or service, please call our office at 406.587.1216.  Thank you!

Volunteer


How do I become a ‘Big’?

Click HERE to find out more and fill out our online Volunteer Application and Pre-Interview Questionnaire. 

What are the requirements to become a ‘Big’?

To become a Big, we ask that our volunteer mentors:

  • Are over 18 years old
  • Have a valid drivers license
  • Have reliable transportation (an insured vehicle)
  • Meet with our staff for an in-depth interview
  • Consent to a background check - Potential Bigs are asked to pay the one-time $15 fee.
  • Commit to 2-3 hours per week with your Little
  • Make a commitment of at least 18 months - consistency and longevity are essential
  • Love to laugh and have fun.  If you can be yourself, you can be a mentor.

Why am I on the mentor waitlist?

There are several reasons you may be on our waitlist after either inquiring to become a mentor or after you have been accepted as a mentor in our program. Historically, we have received a greater number of potential Big Sister inquiries than Big Brother inquiries, and we have a greater need for Big Brothers, so Big Sisters may have to wait a bit longer to be interviewed or matched. We may be waiting for your background check, DMV check, or references to return our calls. We may not have a child ready to be matched within the parameters or location in which you were looking for. We do appreciate your patience.  Please now that we are doing everything we can to find the right match for you.

What support does a mentor receive from BBBS of Big Sky Country?

Once a Big and a Little are matched, they are assigned a Match Support Specialist who will oversee and monitor the match for its duration. Our staff check in with mentors, the child and their parent once a month for the first year of the match, then quarterly after that. Our staff are always available as a resource, to guide and assist with any issues or difficulties, and to ensure that all parties are benefiting from the relationship. We are currently working to provide our Bigs with Youth Mental Health First Aid training courses free of charge in collaboration with the AMB West Philantropies

What types of activites do a ‘Big’ and ‘Little’ do together?

Most matches do simple, everyday activities and often begin their match with outings conducive to talking.  Bigs and Littles have lots to learn about each other.  We stress 'no to low cost' activities that strengthen the relationship while building confidence and exposing the Little to new things.  We offer "Two-for-One" cards from area businesses that offer discounts to matches.  Many matches do community service activities together or play catch in the park, bake cookies, go bowling, take bike rides or walks, or just hang out.  We do receive limited numbers of donated tickets throughout the year, which we offer to our matches on a first come, first serve basis.  

Enroll A Child


How do I enroll my child?

Fill out the form or contact our office at 406-587-1216 (Bozeman) or 406.222.1930 (Livingston).

What are the requirements to become a ‘Little’?

We do our best to enroll any child ages 5-15 who wants a mentor.  Our services are always free and there are no economic or family structure qualifiers.

BBBS National Child Eligibility Criteria Profile: The main eligibility factor is any child who needs or wants an adult role model (Big) in his/her life.

 

A.         At the time of enrollment, the child is between 5 and 15 years of age. Matches will end when the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.

B.         The child resides in the agency service area.

C.         The parent/guardian can commit to consistent contact with a Volunteer Big.

D.         The child needs or wants a relationship with a Volunteer Big.

E.         The child is cooperative and desires to participate in the program.

F.         The child is capable of forming a meaningful relationship with a Volunteer Big.

G.         The parent/guardian has been oriented to the program.

H.         The parent/guardian is cooperative and desires to be supportive of the child/Volunteer Big relationship.

Factors of Ineligibility for a Child: If the following conditions exist or are imminent, the child will be considered ineligible.

A.         The child demonstrates clear opposition to being paired with a Volunteer Big and/or does not agree to interact or work with a Volunteer Big.

B.         The child's time with the Volunteer Big would disrupt time with other family members.

C.         The parent/guardian or child displays problems so severe that services provided by BBBSGC would not benefit the child.

D.         The child is mentally handicapped beyond educable mental retardation.

E.         The child is physically handicapped to the point of being confined to the home or a facility.

F.         The child has a unique situation that requires resources unavailable through BBBSGC services.

G.         Non-primary parent objects to the child’s participation in the program.

We ask that parents commit to a partnership with the mentor to ensure the best relationship possible.  We ask for an 18-month commitment from our Bigs, and we ask the same of parents.  Our staff also check in with the Bigs, Littles and their parents once per month for the first year of the match (and quarterly after that) to ensure its success, so we ask parents to commit to this communication.

Why is my child on the waitlist?

There are several reasons your child may be on our waitlist after either inquiring to be a 'Little' or after they have been enrolled. We receive a greater number of potential Big Sister inquiries than Big Brother inquiries, and so Little Brothers may wait a bit longer to be interviewed or matched. We may not have a Big ready to be matched within proximity to where you are located or with the same interests.  We do appreciate your patience. Please know that we are doing everything we can to find the right mentor for your child.

What support do a parent / guardian and child receive from Big Brothers Big Sisters?

Once a Big and a Little are matched, they are assigned a Match Support Specialist who will oversee and monitor the match for its duration. Our staff checks in with each 'Big', 'Little' and their parent once a month for the first year of the match, then quarterly after that.  Our staff are always available as a resource to guide and assist with any issues or difficulties, and to ensure that all parties are benefiting from the relationship.