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Site-Based Volunteer Training. Our Mission. The Big Brothers Big Sisters Mission is to help children reach their potential through one-to-one relationships with mentors that have a measurable impact on youth. YES! Good Example Mentor Friend Positive Influence Consistent and Dependable

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Our mission
Our Mission

The Big Brothers Big Sisters

Mission is to help children reach

their potential through one-to-one

relationships with mentors that have

a measurable impact on youth.

Mentors obligations and appropriate roles


Good Example



Positive Influence

Consistent and Dependable


Set boundaries and limits

Decide activities together



Financial Support





Mentors Obligations and Appropriate Roles

Risk factors protective factors
Risk Factors & Protective Factors

  • Healthy Care-giver

  • Access to Health Care

  • Education

  • Financial Well-being

  • Community Resources

  • Stability

  • Positive models/mentors

  • Faith/Religion

  • Individual Constitution

  • Divorce

  • Poverty

  • Abuse

  • Family Problems

  • Death

  • Mental/Health Issues

  • School Problems

  • Community Problems

  • Individual Constitution

Benefits of mentoring


Valuable asset

New experiences and perspectives

Promotes positive youth development

Sense of self

Sense of future

Enthusiasm for learning


Unique volunteer experience

New opportunities for learning

Making a difference

Being a kid again!

Benefits of Mentoring

Strategies for common problems
Strategies for Common Problems

  • What do I do?

    • “My Little doesn’t share feelings and/or initiate conversation.”

Our goals and expectations
Our Goals and Expectations

  • Full Calendar Year Commitment (from day you are matched)

  • One hour a week minimum, once a week minimum

    • Must let MSS know if you cannot attend

  • Develop a trusting quality relationship

    • Be dependable and consistent

  • We usually begin the day with homework help or tutoring followed by free time.

    • Please check with their teacher or look in their planner

    • If your little doesn’t have homework, do something else academic, read a book, flash cards, spelling words, etc.

    • Make it fun! Be creative!

    • Follow up with teacher. You will receive their e-mail. Feel free to see how they are improving or what they need help on.

  • Free time can be used to teach life skills, talk about important topics, play games, and learn new hobbies.

    • Dress appropriate so that you can play and interact with your little.

    • Be creative! Bring in things to do, make up your own games, don’t get stuck doing the same thing each week.

    • Include the life skill or topic of the month in your activities.

Program rules
Program Rules

  • Keep conversations appropriate.

    -Children may ask you inappropriate questions… redirect them!

    -Remember there are people listening at all times. Just because you’re in the hall doesn’t mean no one is listening.

  • Know where your little needs to be dropped off or picked up before you leave (teacher, front door, picked up in front, back to after school program, etc.) Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to their parent!

  • Always sign in at the office (each school is different) or specific location every time you visit the school.

  • Stay in designated area of school for all activities.

  • Only use supplies, games, and equipment marked BBBS Supplies.

  • There can be no visitation with your Little outside of the school setting unless at an agency sponsored and supervised activity (i.e. summer activities, agency holiday party, etc.). You may NOT transport your little (even if it is raining or snowing)!

  • Dress appropriately; no offensive t-shirts, hats, logos. No immodest or revealing shirts, skirts, shorts, or other clothing. Wear appropriate clothing-respect school dress code and able to be active.

  • Limit cell phone use to emergencies. This is NOT social hour- No texting, playing on phones, calling, standing around with friends, or talking on cell phones during meeting. Keep it out of sight and out of mind.

Program rules continued
Program Rules Continued

  • In fairness to all the students please do not spend money on your Little. Birthday or holiday gifts are appropriate, but should be moderate in nature. We want you to earn your littles’ friendship, not buy it.

  • Confidentiality is highly regarded at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah.  Volunteers should refrain from sharing information about their little with others out side of our agency.  It is imperative that volunteers communicate immediately to their match support specialist regarding any information pertaining to child safety and child well-being. 

  • Be consistent and dependable.

  • Be flexible. There may be times where you go to the school and your Little is not present. We try our best to let you know beforehand, but it is not always possible.

  • Over the winter, spring, and summer break you are strongly encouraged to have contact with your little via email, standard mail, phone contact, or by attending agency activities unless otherwise advised by your Match Support Specialist (in the case your child’s parent has not consented).

  • Talking with BBBSU staff once a month is essential to your match success.

  • You must keep your contact information including e-mail, home, and mailing address and phone numbers up to date at all times. If this changes, you must contact your Match Support Specialist.

  • Becoming friends on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter are highly discouraged.

A top priority child safety

A Top Priority:Child Safety

Children’s safety is our #1 priority. We focus on the child’s safety and well-being throughout the match.

We do this by providing:

Professional screening

Child abuse prevention programs for children

Guidelines for boundaries

Ongoing required Match Support contact

Supervisors at each site

Safety guidelines
Safety Guidelines

  • Discipline/Setting Limits

  • Physical discipline is never allowed.

  • State expectations for behavior and any boundaries.

  • 3. Verbally address behavior concerns, clarify what needs to change or happen.

  • Review child development information.

  • You are not the child’s peer and should be able to be an example. There are times you will need to say, “No.” So practice!

Personal Boundaries

1. Respect the child’s need for personal space and privacy.

2. Affection is best expressed through positive/affirming comments. High fives are a great way to say good job! If a child would like to hug you, side hugs are sometimes acceptable.

3. Respect the opinions and values of the child, even when they differ from your own.

4. Never come between the parent/guardian & child; respect parental role and authority

  • Use of alcohol, drugs, tobacco

  • Prohibited anytime the child is with the mentor.

  • Prohibited during any sponsored event where children are present.

  • 3. Prohibited before match meetings. Never on school grounds or near the school. They may see.

Child safety
Child Safety

  • You are responsible for your little at all times during the program. You need to know where they need to be dropped off or who (teacher, parent, coordinator, etc.) is allowed to pick them up at the end of program.

  • Become comfortable with verbal correction when needed, and notify your coordinator if discipline problems need addressed.

  • Be aware of your program’s discipline procedures.

  • You need to be with your little brother or sister if they leave the program room to go to their locker, classroom, restroom, etc…(must wait for them outside of restroom)

  • Make sure if you are going somewhere you notify the coordinator where you are going, and always be near another match.

  • If you are going to be absent, be sure to notify your coordinator. It would be nice to send a note for your little to let them know that you are thinking about them.

Strategies for common problems1
Strategies for Common Problems

  • What do I do?

    • “My Little doesn’t seem to need me.”

Relationship development and maintenance

Relationship Development and Maintenance

Common stages

Honeymoon Stage

Growth Stage

Maturity Stage

Transition and “Closure”

Honeymoon stage
Honeymoon Stage

  • 1st Meeting-4 Months

    • You both are trying to figure out each other.

    • Littles may try to get their Bigs’ approval or impress them.

    • It’s fun and new, everything is great!

  • Move It Along By:

    • Without prying, learn facts about your Little and reference them in your conversations:  e.g.  favorite things, best friend, where they’ve traveled.

    • Be consistent and flexible, do what you said you were going to do.

    • Be patient and remember that relationships have ups and downs, and don't "happen" by themselves.

Growth stage
Growth Stage

  • 4 months-One Year

    • Most crucial time regarding the development of the Big/Little relationship. May be a turning point in the relationship.

    • It is common, around the four-month date, that your Little will begin testing you to see what you are really about and how much he/she can get away with.

    • Your Little may be observing you to find a reason not to trust you.

    • Your relationship is more likely to end during this stage but this is also the most CRUCIAL stage in the relationship!!

  • Move It Along By:

    • Showing your Little that he can trust you, through your reliability, consistency, and time together. As trust develops, your Little will probably begin sharing bits of information here and there with you.

    • Keep in close contact with your Match Support Specialist for ideas.

    • If you need to give advice or address behavior problems, give reasons; avoid "shoulds." 

    • Recognize and praise accomplishments

Maturity stage
Maturity Stage

  • One year and beyond!

    • You will notice your relationship with your Little has become more positive and realistic and match activities are less structured.

    • Most Bigs have shed their preconceived notions regarding the match and their Little.

    • As the friendship matures, you will see the maturity of your Little as he/she grows and develops.

  • Move It Along By:

    • Identify past shared experiences and enjoy shared "jokes."

    • Learn something new to both of you, together.

Transition and closure
Transition and Closure

  • This transition should be handled in a sensitive, thoughtful, and caring way

  • Recognize that you have made an impact at some level on your little

  • Celebrate the experiences that you have been through together

  • If Closure is not approached carefully, a child can be hurt by the experience! Talk to your coordinator before closing your match!

  • Do NOT just stop coming

  • You must call your Match Support Specialist immediately

  • You must be the one who tells your little, one last visit is necessary- if absolutely no way to visit one last time, you must make the call

  • Why premature closures are so harmful

    • Reaffirm belief people walk in and out of their life

    • Reaffirm beliefs not to trust and open up to others for fear of leaving and feeling of loss

    • Children blame themselves and think it is their fault

Strategies for common problems2

Strategies for Common Problems

What do I do?

“My Little doesn’t show appreciation.”

Communication tips
Communication Tips

Tip 1. Get on the child’s level

Tip 2. Allow the child to say as much as possible

Tip 3. Listen carefully for the child’s feelings, thoughts, and beliefs

Tip 4. Use the child’s key words when communicating with them

Tip 5. Avoid trying to “fix” things for the child or rescue them

Tip 6. Be concrete, use terms they understand

Tip 7. Allow for periods of silence in the communication

Tip 8. You need to remain calm to work well with the child

Tip 9. If the child’s problem directly affects you, share your thoughts and feelings with the child

Tip 10. Ask the child for information and have them discover the solutions rather than telling them answers

Communication tips cont
Communication Tips Cont.

  • If your Little is acting out, yelling at them or constantly telling them “NO” will only work in the short term and you will constantly feel yourself saying No! For example:

    No! don't run in the hall…

    No! don't stand on the table…

    No! don't eat the glue…

  • Use “I statements.” For example:

    “I’m worried that you are disrupting other people by running in the hallway, please stay with the group.”

    “I don’t know if it a good idea to stand on the table. You could fall and get really hurt.”

    “I think you may get a stomach ache if you continue to eat the glue.”

  • Use positive reinforcement.

  • Catch your Little being good and tell them!

What to expect in children 6 11 years old
What to Expect in Children 6-11 Years Old

  • Physical Development:

    • Children become more fatigued by long periods of sitting than by running, jumping, or bicycling. Also, they have short attention spans.

    • WHAT CAN YOU DO? Engage the child in physical activities.

  • Social Development:

    • The development of self-esteem depends on achievement and industry. Also, peer relationships become increasingly important.

    • WHAT CAN YOU DO? Praise the child when he or she has done something well.

  • Cognitive Development:

    • Children think in concrete terms and are unable to see the whole picture.

    • WHAT CAN YOU DO? Be understanding of a child’s cognitive ability. For example, expecting the child to call you every week may be an unreasonable expectation based on the child’s cognitive abilities.

Site based volunteer training

Common Characteristics

  • Very sensitive to praise and recognition

  • Can be conflict between adults rules and friends rules

  • Pushes limits and boundaries

  • Wants to exclude or include specific people

  • Don’t give a lot of input in conversation or activities

  • Idea of fairness becomes big issue

  • Eager to answer questions

  • Want more independence

  • Wide discrepancies in reading ability

  • Hard to show appreciation

  • Want to do same things over and over

  • Hard to make decisons

Strategies for common problems3
Strategies for Common Problems

  • What do I do?

    • “My Little doesn’t want to improve.”   

Open discussion common issues that might come up
Open Discussion:Common Issues That Might Come Up

  • Bullies

  • Divorce

  • Death

  • Buy me things

  • Friends/Drama

  • Shy

  • Never wants to try anything new.

  • Doesn’t want to work on homework.

  • Abuse

  • Violence

  • Money

  • Jobs

  • Discipline/setting boundaries

  • Appropriate language.

  • Being mean.

What is abuse
What is Abuse?

  • Abuse represents an action against a child. It is an act of commission and is generally characterized in three categories:

    • Physical Abuse: a non-accidental injury to a child

    • Sexual Abuse: any sexual activity upon or with a child. The act may be for sexual gratification of the perpetrator or a third party

    • Emotional Abuse: chronic acts which interfere with the psychological and/or social development of a child

Child abuse detection
Child Abuse Detection

  • Physical abuse indicators include: bruises, lasting marks, welts, black eyes, or burns.

  • Physical sexual abuse indicators include: recurrent urinary tract infections, difficulty in walking or sitting, bloody underclothing, or eating disorders.

  • Behavioral sexual abuse indicators include: inappropriate sexual behavior, sleep and/or eating disorders, withdrawal, nightmares, low self-esteem, fearful of a certain place or person, self-destructive behavior or anxiety.

Child abuse intervention
Child Abuse Intervention


  • Act Alerted or react in an upset or emotional way.

  • Mess with the investigation by asking leading questions.

  • Touch or hug the child without permission.

  • Tell the child that you will keep the information a secret.



  • Call your Match Support Specialist immediately at 313-0303.

  • Call Child Protective Services (CPS) at 538-4377.

  • Let the child talk: listen and be sensitive.

  • Tell the child, “I am glad you told me and I will support you” and “I have to report this.”

What is neglect
What is Neglect?

  • Neglect is failure to act on behalf of a child. It is an act of OMISSION, and is generally characterized in three categories:

    • Physical Neglect: supervision, housing, nutrition, medical care

    • Emotional Neglect: Necessary support and/or affection

    • Educational Neglect: Failure to ensure a child’s opportunity to learn in a school or home environment.

Strategies for common problems4
Strategies for Common Problems

  • What do I do?

    • “I haven’t seen any changes in my Little.”  

Suicide detection
Suicide Detection

  • Verbal cues: (most obvious)

    • “I can’t take it anymore,”

    • “Don’t bother picking me up on Saturday, because I might not be alive.”

    • “I’m going to kill myself.”

  • Behavioral cues:

    • most direct is an unsuccessful suicide (any suicide attempt is a serious cry for help and should not be misinterpreted as a means of getting attention).

    • giving away prized possessions,

    • saying good-bye to family and friends

    • making out a will.

  • Situational cues: (related to the current environmental stressors he or she is experiencing.)

    • loss of a loved one

    • breakup of a relationship,

    • other sudden and unexpected changes in his or her life

Suicide intervention
Suicide Intervention

  • If a child or adolescent is contemplating suicide, some common examples of what not to say include: “Everyone is your friend,” “That is a stupid idea,” or “You have everything going for you.”

  • When dealing with a suicidal teen, honesty is the best policy. Some examples of more appropriate intervention statements might include “I want to understand how you feel,” “I will always be here for you,” or “Tell me more about your feelings so I can help.” Caring for a suicidal individual should not be a solitary action, and it is imperative that the proper authorities be notified.

  • Contact your Match Support Specialist


  • How do deal with being bullied:

    • Encourage your child to share his or her concerns.

    • Learn as much as you can about the situation.

    • Teach your child how to respond to the bullying.

    • Contact school officials.

    • Boost your child's self-confidence.

  • How to deal with a bully:

    • Discuss with child. Listen. Find out his/her side of the story.

    • Help child to understand how the behavior is affecting other children.

    • Share your thoughts and feelings.

Helping children deal with divorce
Helping Children Deal with Divorce

  • Be understanding and considerate when dealing with the family. Remember that the family might be facing issues that you are not aware of.

  • Plan activities that give the child a break from his or her life.

  • Give the child opportunities to be a kid and experience wonder.

  • Help the child see that he or she is valuable.

Helping children deal with death
Helping Children Deal with Death

  • DON’T:

  • Attempt to hide your feelings.

  • Fail to recognize behavior problems may be transferred emotions.

  • Provide a theological lecture (preach).

  • Blame God (It is God’s will…What God would destroy a person?)

  • DO:

  • Share your own feelings.

  • Respond to the child’s feelings.

  • Allow time for mourning (can be months).

  • Recognize the stages in the grief process.

  • Be honest at all times.

  • Discuss the funeral service (mortuary, church, graveside).

  • Listen to what the child has to say.

Strategies for common problems5
Strategies for Common Problems

  • What do I do?

    • “My Little wants to hang out with their friends. Or have their friends hang out with us.”

    • “Friends of mine that are also Bigs want to hang out with us all the time.”

Bbbs support how bbbs works with you your little

BBBS Support:How BBBS Works with You & Your Little

Our goal is for you to form a safe and lasting friendship with your little! We do this by helping you through obstacles, answering questions and concerns you may have, and providing additional training.

Match support why what and when
Match Support: Why, What, and When?

  • Why?

    • To ensure the child is safe.

    • To make sure that your relationship is running smoothly

    • To answer any questions or concerns you may have.

  • What?

    • Advice on your relationship development

    • Dissatisfaction in your match relationship

    • Suggestions on different activities you can do together.

    • Sometimes you will be asked to complete surveys about your relationship.

  • When?

    • Your Match Support Specialist will speak to you twice in the first month you are matched, then once every month thereafter.

    • You need to contact your Match Support Specialist with advanced notice if you cannot attend your match meeting.

  • If your Match Support Specialist (MSS) attempts to contact you via email or phone, please respond ASAP.

Questions comments concerns
Questions, Comments, Concerns

  • Please feel free and comfortable with your MSS so you can address any questions, concerns, etc with them as the year goes by.

  • If we don’t know there is a problem, there is no way to help find a solution.

Surveys why
Surveys: Why?

  • Why?

    • Helps us recognize if there are problems in a match.

    • Helps us determine outcomes and assets that are being developed.

    • Helps us know what we can do to improve the program.

    • Determines what we need to focus on in the future.

  • When?

    • 3 Month Mark- SOR (Strength of Relationship)

    • Year End Surveys- SOR, POE

What surveys tell us
What surveys tell us?

Little Brothers and Little Sisters who met with their Big Brothers or Sisters for at least one year were:

  • 46% less likely to start using drugs;

  • 27% less likely to start drinking;

  • 33% less likely to act violently;

  • 52% less likely to skip a day of school, and earned higher grades.

    Almost across the board these outcomes are higher for minority youth. For example:

  • Minority boys are 67% less likely to start using drugs; and

  • Minority girls are 72% less likely to start using drugs.

Strategies for common problems6
Strategies for Common Problems

  • What do I do?

    • “We keep doing the same activities over and over. Meetings are boring for both of us.”

Additional trainings
Additional Trainings

  • Online Trainings

    • High School Bigs Required Trainings. Specifically designed for High School volunteers. (

  • Formal Trainings

    • At University of Utah, Partnering agencies, our office, etc.

  • Trainings at the School

    • We may sometimes come into the schools and do trainings with you and your little together.

  • E-mailed Opportunities

    • We will e-mail you all the dates, links, and opportunities throughout the year. If you don’t receive an e-mail and are interested in a training, contact your Match Support Specialist.

How well were you listening
How well were you listening?

  • How long are you expected to volunteer?

  • What are you supposed to be? What aren’t you supposed to be?

  • Where are you allowed to meet with your little?

  • What will you do at the school?

  • Name two program guidelines.

  • Name two child safety guidelines.

  • What are the four phases of relationship development?

  • What are some common characteristics of kids 6-11?

  • What is a Match Support Specialist?

  • How many times will you talk with you Match Support Specialist?

  • If you have any problems, concerns, or successes you’d like to share, who should you get in touch with?

  • How many other trainings do we suggest you participate in, besides this one and the one that takes place at your match meeting?