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FAQs

How old are the “Littles” in the mentoring program?

BBBSLI matches children between the ages of 7-16

How do I enroll my child to be matched with a volunteer mentor?

Please visit our “Enroll A Child” page and enter your zip code to  submit an online inquiry form.

How do I refer a child to be matched with a volunteer mentor?

Please visit our “Enroll A Child” page and enter your zip code to  submit an online inquiry form.

What is a Big Brother or Big Sister?

A ‘Big’ is a volunteer mentor who is matched in a one-to-one relationship with a child (‘Little’) in our program. A mentor is a friend, a supporter, a positive and consistent addition to the life of a Little. A Big Brother or Big Sister is not a replacement parent, a babysitter or a therapist. Rather someone to help share a different perspective on life and help their Little to realize their endless potential.

What types of activities does a Big and a Little do together?

It is up to the Bigs and Littles, with approval from the Little’s parent/guardian, and sometimes approval from the Case Manager, for what activities they would like to take part in together. Activities range from simply going to the library or bookstore, playing sports, going to the movies, to attending sporting events or shows.

We stress ‘no to low cost’ activities that strengthen the relationship while building confidence and expose the Little Brother or Little Sister to new things. Our agency offers suggestions of free and low cost community activities.

We also offer various Match Activities and fun and educational programs throughout the year for matches to attend.

The agency also receives limited amounts of donated tickets throughout the year, which are made available to our Bigs thru a lottery system.

What are the requirements for applying to be a volunteer mentor?

Accepted volunteer mentors are 18 or older. You must also complete an in-depth interview with one of our program staff and sign off on a background and DMV check to be conducted on your behalf.

What is the time commitment to be a volunteer mentor?

It’s a few hours a month! We request that you agree to a minimum of one year to be matched with a child, and to spend at minimum a few of hours throughout the month with them. It is not the amount of time that matters most, but your consistency that matters most to the children in our program. Approximately 20% of all out current matches have been together for 5 or more years!

How can I get more information about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister?

Please visit our “Become A Big” Page and enter your zip code to submit an online inquiry form

What support does a mentor receive from BBBSLI?

Once a Big and a Little are matched, they are assigned a Case Manager who will oversee and monitor the match for its duration. Our designated staff is available for answers to any questions, to guide and assist with any issues or difficulties, and to ensure that all parties are benefiting from the relationship. Additionally, BBBSLI provides training and support services for the duration of the match relationship.

Why am I on the wait list to get a Little?

There are several reasons you may be on our wait list after either inquiring to become a mentor or after you have been accepted as a mentor in our program. Some reasons could be: We may not have a child ready to be matched within proximity to where you are located. Also, we have to honor all guardian/Little/volunteer preferences. A program team member will keep you updated on our efforts to match you.

What site based programs does BBBSLI offer?

BBBSLI provides several different site based programs to children throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. These programs include:

  • College Mentoring
  • High School Bigs Mentoring
  • Workplace Mentoring

What supplemental programs does BBBSLI offer?

In addition to our community and site based mentoring, BBBSLI offers:

Holiday for Kids’ Sake
This program is a special outreach to financially challenged families during the holiday season. The goal is to alleviate the added burden that this season can put on a family that is already struggling. Through this program, each family receives gifts for all the children in the household, plus food for a special dinner and other essential pantry items, delivered to their doorstep. To donate brand new, unwrapped gifts please contact the Development Office at (516)731-7880 x227.

Encouraging Literacy
Designed to inspire a love of reading among the “Littles” of BBBSLI, gift cards to bookstores are occasionally provided during the duration of the match as well as book fairs, new books are made available to our matches several times per year. This encourages them to read and learn together. Reading provides our youth with new ways of looking at the world and motivates them to seek out new experiences, an integral part of their growth and development.

Does BBBSLI offer any scholarships?

BBBSLI Annual Scholarships
The pursuit of higher education is often one that causes stress and hardship for many of the children and families we serve in our program. We wish to alleviate that hardship to ensure that the children in our program receive an opportunity to create a brighter future.

In honor of the late Jeff Grant, the late Glenn Trovato and the late Michael J. Weisbrod, long-time supporters and friends of the agency, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island offers scholarships in various amounts to assist students matriculating for their first year of college.

Eligible applicants are those who have been either a Volunteer Mentor or Little Brother/Little Sister in our program.

How can I schedule a pickup of clothing or small household items?

Visit our “Schedule Pick up” page to submit an online scheduling form or call 631-234-0000.

How can I donate my time to help out at one of your events or to help out in your office?

While these opportunities are limited, we do collect a list of community volunteers for when we could use some extra hands! Please contact: Deanna Tropeano, Events Coordinator at: dtropeano@bbbsli.org or (516) 731-7880 X214

How do I make a financial contribution?

Please click our “Donate Now” page or contact our Development Office at (516)731-7880 x227

How is my money used?

Your dollars help to create meaningful matches between children (‘Littles’) and volunteer mentors (‘Bigs) here on Long Island. Our staff of professional Case Managers provide ongoing support for the lifetime of the match, with all parties involved, and ensure that the match provides a successful and beneficial outcome for the child. In addition, we provide resources to the parents and guardians of all Littles on our program, award an annual scholarship opportunity to selected, eligible applicants attending their first year of higher education as well as host agency events for Bigs, Littles and their families year-round. For more information please contact our Development Office at (516)731-7880 x227.

How can I donate my product or service to benefit your organization?

We rely on the support of the Long Island community and businesses to help keep our costs down, so more of our funds can go directly to supporting our mentoring program. Please contact Amy Sledz-Sarin, Director of Marketing & PR, to discuss your donation at: asledz-sarin@bbbsli.org or  (516) 731-7880 x222.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island