Why Be a Mentor?

For just a few hours a couple of times a month, you can help a child succeed. Big Brothers Big Sisters is different from other mentoring organizations in that we seek volunteers who are committed and consistent, willing to serve at least a year, but we hope until a child graduates high school. Studies show that by doing so, our mentoring services help kids stay in school, avoid risky behaviour, and experience first-hand the importance of helping others in their community.

Professional staff is there to work with you, the child and the family throughout the course of the mentoring relationship to provide necessary training and support. Funding allows us to carefully make and support more matches. Sometimes, the supply of volunteers and kids is greater than the necessary agency funding. We are grateful for your willingness to be involved and while it is certainly not a requirement, we welcome you to also become a donor –  as you volunteer or wait to be matched. Please scroll down for frequently asked questions about volunteering.

VOLUNTEER application form

Please provide your basic information and we will forward it to the agency for follow up

How it Works

How The Volunteering Process Works

The order of the steps in the application and assessment process can vary from agency to agency, but the following is a general overview of the process. You, the volunteer applicant:

  • Completes an application with their local agency
  • Submits a vulnerable sector screen, criminal records check, and three or four references
  • Participates in a one-to-one interview with a staff member at the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency
  • Depending on the program, may be asked to participate in an assessment of their home environment
  • Successfully completes an orientation and child safety training
  • Is notified of their acceptance/non-acceptance
  • If accepted as a volunteer mentor, signs an agreement of confidentiality
The Matching Process

Similar to the application and assessment process, the matching process can vary from agency to agency and from program to program, but in general:

  • The caseworker, now familiar with the volunteer and the children and youth waiting to be matched, discusses a potential match with the volunteer, the child or youth, and, depending on the program, with the family
  • The caseworker arranges for a meeting between the child or youth, the volunteer mentor, and often the parent or guardian

If everyone agrees, the match can begin!

Frequently Asked Questions

Volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Is one-to-one mentoring the only program? Or are there different types of opportunities available?
A) Big Brothers Big Sisters of Barrie and District offers a wide variety of mentoring opportunities including 1 to 1 and group programs in the community as well as with our partnering schools. Each program requires a different time commitment. See our Mentoring Programs page for a full list of our programs and brief descriptions for each.

What is the minimum age to be to volunteer?
A) The minimum age is 18 for any of our programs.

How do I get started toward becoming a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer?
A) You can start by inquiring on line or giving us a call at 705-728-0515. The first step is an in-office orientation where we can give you all the information you will need to make your decision to join us! We do require a Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector and other reference checks as part of our application process. The length of the application process can vary depending on the program, but generally can take up to 6 weeks. So, if you are interested we suggest you get started today!

How do I go to get a Criminal Record Check done?
A) At your volunteer interview we will supply you with a letter from our organization indicating you are applying to volunteer. You will need to go to your local Police Department with the letter. Your BBBS agency will provide you with information on the location of the police station that covers your address.


The Big Brother Big Sister Match

What kinds of activities do Bigs and Littles do together?
A) We will do our best to match you to a child who has similar interests. That way there is already groundwork from which to build your friendship. You and your Little will choose the activities you do together from week to week. Some examples of activities are: board games, cooking, walking, swimming, sports and movies; whatever you both enjoy! We encourage that outings are no cost or low cost.

How is a Little Sister or Little Brother picked for me? Do I have any say?
A) When matching you with a Little Sister or Little Brother, your Mentoring Coordinator carefully reviews your application, noting your stated preferences, activities you enjoy, your background, personality, where you live, and other information gathered during your interview. All of this information is carefully considered in order to make a compatible, comfortable match for you and your Little Brother or Little Sister. Before introducing you to your Little, your Mentoring Coordinator will tell you about the child to make sure you are comfortable and to answer any questions you may have. You will also meet the parent/guardian prior to meeting your Little

What if I can’t see my Little Sister or Little Brother for a week or two because I’m on vacation, going through exams, or away on a business trip?
A) Occasional absences are to be expected, whether for vacations, work responsibilities or illness. If you are going to miss an outing this just needs to be communicated to your Little Brother or Little Sister and his or her parent or guardian prior to your absence.

What can I do if I need support with a concern in my match?
A) You will be assigned a BBBS Mentoring Coordinator who is a trained professional and who is there to support you in your match with your Little Brother or Little Sister. You will be having regular contact with your Mentoring Coordinator, and we also encourage you to contact them at any time to discuss how the match is going, what activities you are enjoying together, and any questions that may arise.