Changing the way children grow up in Santa Cruz County



Frequently Asked Questions

When was Big Brothers Big Sisters founded?

Big Brothers Big Sisters was founded in 1904. It is the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in America.

When did Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County start?

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County began in 1982.

Who are Big Brothers/Big Sisters?

Big Brothers and Big Sisters are volunteers who come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

How old do you have to be to become a Big Brother/Big Sister?

Big Brothers and Big Sisters must be at least 18 years old for our One-to-One Match Program and 16 years old for our After-School Mentoring and Enrichment Program.

How many hours a week does it take to be a Big Brother/Big Sister?

The time commitment is three to five hours once a week in our One-to-One Match program and two hours a week in our After-School Mentoring and Enrichment Program.

What is the length of commitment to be a Big Brother/Big Sister?

Big Brothers and Big Sisters must commit to a minimum of one year in our One-to-One Match Program and six months in our After-School Mentoring and Enrichment Program.

I travel occasionally. Can I still do this if I’m a Big Brother/Big Sister?

Yes. Although it is important to be consistent, arrangements can be made with your Case Manager before you leave for your trip so that the child is aware of your departure.

What are the requirements of a Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer?

Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking for people who would like to have fun with a child and make a difference in that child’s life.

How do I become a Big Brother/Big Sister?

First you must fill out an application. Then, the agency compiles personal and professional references, runs a fingerprint and DMV check, and conducts a personal office interview and home interview. A professional screening committee makes the final decision.

Will I receive any kind of training as a Big Brother/Big Sister?

Before and during your match you will receive ongoing training and support opportunities.

Who are Little Brothers/Little Sisters?

Little Brothers/Little Sisters are children in Santa Cruz County. They are children in need of a one-to-one relationship with an adult friend. They are between the ages of 7 and 14 with the majority of them living in single-parent homes.

How are Little Brothers/Little Sisters introduced to the agency?

Children and their families are referred to the agency by schools, other social service agencies, clergy, relatives, or the families may call on their own.

How do Little Brothers/Little Sisters become “Littles”?

The child and the parent are asked to complete an application and are personally interviewed by a professional staff member to help best determine the exact need in each situation. They are all voluntarily a part of the program.

What are matches based on?

A match is based on such factors as geographical location, personality, needs, and interests as well as the volunteer’s and parent’s preferences.

When is a match made?

A match is made only after the volunteer and parent have met face-to-face in our office and mutually approve of making the match. The “pre-match” meeting is facilitated by a case manager and provides both parties with the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about each other. If, after sufficient consideration, the volunteer and parent both want to proceed with the match, we will set up a match meeting in the office, where the plans for the first visit are discussed.

What happens after I’ve been matched?

Throughout the match, the volunteer is never left without the assistance of the professional staff of the agency. Each match is assigned to a case manager for ongoing supervision. Volunteers have monthly contact with the case manager to discuss their feelings about the match and help is available should any problems occur.

How do I arrange meetings with my Little Brother/Little Sister?

It is the volunteer’s responsibility to call the Little Brother/Little Sister to arrange get-togethers.

What kind of activities can I do with a Little Brother/Little Sister?

Activities could include: riding bikes, surfing, cooking, gardening, hiking, playing video games, going to the movies, going out to eat, or just hanging out.

How much money will I spend being a Big Brother/Big Sister?

While the agency does not encourage its volunteers to spend money on the child, it is realistic to assume that small amounts will be expended for food or other small miscellaneous items.

How many children has Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County served?

Hundreds of children have been served by Big Brothers Big Sisters since it began in 1982.

How is Big Brothers Big Sisters funded?

Big Brothers Big Sisters relies on our community to support our mentoring services. The majority of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ funding comes from fundraising events and private donors including individuals, foundations, businesses, service clubs, and faith-based organizations. Federal and local government also funds Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Wanting to volunteer? Apply Online. | Still have questions? Email Us.

Changing the way children grow up in Santa Cruz County.