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 are creating 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, usually from 3-4pm 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 six counties in Maine:. Lincoln, Knox, Waldo, Penobscot as of 2011 and Kennebec and Somerset as of 2013. Four counties – Hancock, Washington, Aroostook and Piscataquis do not currently have a Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Who are your Littles?
Our Littles are great kids who are facing adversity. Over 90% of our Littles come from either a single parent family, low income household, 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?
For the past two years we have served over 500 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?
Since our Littles are facing adversity, which for some means single parent families or low income households, there is no fee for them to participate so the program is 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 potential cost of a child not being matched in BBBS?
BBBS is a preventive program, helping youth build confidence and develop positive decision making skills so they can successfully navigate growing up. If a child made poor choices and ended up in the justice system the cost is high for a community. According to the Justice Policy Institute, the cost of incarceration is $241/day, which equates to $88,000 annually. If a child did not continue or complete their formal education, the cost is also high. According to the Pew Research Center, adults ages 25-32 with a Bachelor’s Degree earn significantly more and experience much less unemployment than those with an Associate’s degree or high school diploma/GED.
|Degree Obtained||Annual Salary||Unemployment Rate|
|High School Diploma/GED||$28,000||12.2%|
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 can do anything from taking a walk, playing a game to visiting a museum. 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.
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!