Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a waiting list?
We do not have a waiting list. We do want to recruit more mentors and secure more funding, because our goal is to make the best match and we are driven to grow because the program works and there are more kids who can benefit. Also, the number of youth who call us doesn’t fully define the need, since some families are unaware of the opportunity, or we need to educate them that this is an opportunity, not a negative statement about their parenting.
How are you funded?
Our development team makes sure we have diversified revenue from special events, grants, corporate partners, United Way funding and individual donors. We also have a cash reserve and plan to create an endowment to secure our future.
What are the requirements to be a Big?
The desire to have fun and ability to commit to spending 2-5 hours a week for at least a year with a child who shares the same interests. You don’t have to change your life to change someone else’s!
What if 2-5 hours is too much for me?
We have another option to be a coordinator at one of our 3 dozen schools. High school Bigs meet with their Littles after school on a set day of the week during the school year. The set time and shorter length often make this easier for people who want to help.
What is your screening process?
Our process is multi-layered and thorough to ensure safety and success. It includes an interview, criminal background check, driving record, sex offender registry, DHHS, and references, plus an orientation, all completed by trained professional staff.
What is your matching process?
Our process helps identify key characteristics for relationship building such as interests, personality, goals, background, as well as gender and geography. We want to make great matches which develop into long-term relationships because that is what helps create long-term, positive outcomes for kids in our community.
What areas do you serve?
We serve seven counties in eastern, mid-coast and central Maine: Androscoggin, Lincoln, Knox, Waldo, Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.
Who are your Littles?
Our Littles are great kids who are facing adversity in their lives. Over 90% of our Littles come from either a single parent family, low income household, and/or are struggling academically or socially. About 1 in 5 has a disability. They are in grades K-8 when matched, and our focus is on the younger grades, as BBBS is a preventive program.
How do you find your Littles?
Littles are referred by school staff, other social service organizations, and supportive family members.
How many kids do you serve?
BBBS of Mid-Maine serves over 700 youth annually. This includes the high school students serving as Bigs who are learning leadership skills and the value of volunteerism.
What does the program cost?
Many of our Littles are facing adversity, which for some means single parent families or low income households, so there is no fee for them to participate, making the program accessible to those who can benefit. We rely on the generosity of donors like you to change lives. It is on average $1,000 to create and support a match for a year and help a child achieve success in life. The cost covers recruitment, screening, training, insurance, and most importantly, professional support to ensure the relationship develops in a healthy and safe manner.
What is the impact of the program?
As a result of being a Little, youth have higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships, avoid risky behaviors and achieve educational success.
Nationally, Little Brothers and Sisters are:
More confident in their performance in school
Able to get along better with their families
46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
27% less likely to begin using alcohol
52% less likely to skip school
Locally, youth in BBBS of Mid-Maine mentoring experienced:
93% increase in self-confidence
92% increase in showing trust towards their mentor
89% increase in positive attitude towards school
87% increase in ability to express feelings
National research also shows high school Bigs benefit too:
47% had improved interpersonal skills
34% had improved personal skills (were more responsible, reliable and organized)
35% improved their leadership abilities
30% were more likely to volunteer in life as a result of the experience
Littles who are now adults are experiencing success in their lives:
86% said their relationship with their Big has helped them make better choices in their adult life.
90% said their Big provided stability when they needed it and changed their perspective on what they thought possible in life (81%).
65% agreed their Big helped them reach a higher level of education than they thought possible.
What do matches do together?
Matches explore shared interests and spend time doing a variety of things from playing board games, taking walks, cooking, or maybe visiting a museum! If you are a school-based mentor, you might shoot hoops, do homework together, read, or do craft projects. We have great partners in the community which help offer low or no cost activities for matches. For many Littles there are quite a few first time activities they share with their Bigs, like hiking, bowling or other fun things!
How can I help change lives?
BBBS is a community solution, helping all children achieve success in their families, schools and communities. Whether you become a Big and spend a few hours a week with a child, a coordinator for 1 hour a week during the school year, or a donor, your gift of time and money will change lives.
Still have a question?
Call or email us today!