How do you find a match? What do you match based on?
Matches are determined by looking at several factors between the Little and the Big based on:
- Location – Being within a reasonable travel distance based on the Little’s and Big’s form of travel (no longer than 45 minutes by car or transit)
- Interests – Having any shared or similar interests to build a relationship upon
- Personality – Considering how well the Little and Big will work together
- Availability – Confirming that both the Little’s and Big’s schedules can overlap easily
- Shared Experiences – Seeing how much of the Big’s past experiences can be beneficial to the Little (who might be experiencing similar things)
How long do matches usually last?
All of our matches have a one-year minimum in the program for both Littles and Bigs (excluding extenuating circumstances). Sometimes our matches can last up to 3+ years – depending on the level of support required by the match – and 1:1 matches can often last longer than that.
How long do Bigs have to wait until they get matched?
We have children and youth from across the GTA enrolled in our programs. Bigs’ wait time is often dependent on the number of Littles we have in the area they live in (or are willing to travel to). Most of our Littles live in Scarborough, Etobicoke, and Rexdale. Bigs who live in or are willing to travel to those areas tend to be matched quicker.
If you have any questions about your place on the waitlist, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our staff will get back to you shortly.
How long do Littles have to wait until they get matched?
The waitlist for a Little’s assessment (Build Your Little Bio) is about 2-3 months. The waitlist for a Little to be matched differs. See “How do you find a match? What do you match based on?” to learn more about the different factors that go into a match. However, due to having a high number of children waiting for a mentor in Rexdale, Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough as well as a shortage of volunteers in those areas, finding a match generally takes 6 months – 1 year (not including wait time for assessment or enrolment processing time).
How are matches working virtually?
We want to continue fostering relationships, especially during a time when children and youth are isolated from their friends and families. BBBST provides a variety of virtual activities like games, conversations, arts and crafts and more, along with a guide. Additionally, our coordinators are always available for support if the Little and/or Big is looking for more ways to keep engaged.
Do we get to pick our match?
BBBST works together with you to help pick the best possible match based on all the Bigs/Littles that are within a reasonable distance from you. When a match is found, you’ll be contacted with information about their interests, personality, availability, and why they’re enrolled in BBBST (without breaching confidentiality). If you’re happy with the match, BBBST reaches out to the Big/the Little’s parent or guardian to share the good news! If you don’t think it’s a good match, BBBST can look at other possible Bigs/Littles instead. If you do think it’s a good match, we will go ahead and call them to let them know about you! You’re always our first call (excluding extenuating circumstances).
What happens if a match does not work out?
BBBST wants to ensure both the Big and Little are happy with their match. When you are presented with a match, we encourage you to take as much time as you need to think about it. If you’re not happy with the match provided, please share any honest feedback which will help BBBST go back and find a better match for you.
When you meet your Big/Little and you don’t think it’s a good match, please let your Mentoring Program Specialist know. They will work together with you to come up with the best solution for everyone. If the solution results in a match closing and you would still like to participate in BBBST’s mentorship program, you will be put back into the matching pool for us to find you a new match.
What are the requirements of becoming a Big?
To start your process of becoming a Big/volunteer, the only requirements are:
- You are 18+ years old
- You live in Toronto
- You are a legal resident of Canada
During your Build Your Big Bio stage, we will learn more about you, your personality and interests and how you fit into our mentoring programs.
Are there any earlier Bigs 101 sessions I can attend?
All Big 101 sessions are held at limited capacity; the session that you’re invited to is the earliest session you can attend.
I’ve attended a Bigs 101, what’s next?
Once you’ve attended a Bigs 101, within a couple of days you’ll receive an email with a link to our application form. Sometimes our emails end up in junk or spam, so please ensure we are added to your Safe Senders list. If you still haven’t received your application, please email email@example.com to get it re-sent.
Can I use my current police check work instead of getting a new one?
We can use your current police check work if it meets the following criteria:
- Has the additional vulnerable sector screening
- Completed by the Toronto Police Service (or another local Police force)
- Checked within the last year
- Original copy can be kept by BBBST for records
Otherwise if your police check work is older than 1 year or we cannot keep your original copy, a new police check must be completed instead.
What topics are covered in training?
All training sessions cover the below topics and include an open Q&A for any additional questions:
- Child Safety (Duty of Care)
- Key Messages from BBBS of Canada on Mentoring
- Rules & Guidelines for a Match
- How to Build Developmental Relationships (using assets adopted from Search Institute)
Who do I reach out to during my application to be a Big?
If you’re in the process of receiving an acceptance into the BBBST program, you can contact your assessor who completed your Build Your Big Bio. If you don’t know who that is or you don’t have their contact information, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do Littles come into the program? Do they choose to be a part of it?
Our Littles are either referred to us by other organizations they are involved with, or enrolled directly by their parent/guardian. Although the initial enrolment is the decision of the parent/guardian, when conducting the Build Your Little Bio, we explicitly ask the child/youth whether they want to be a part of the program. If they answer Yes or Willing to Try, we proceed. If they answer No, we do not proceed with their application to be a Little.
Can I volunteer with the agency while I wait for a match? Are there any other short term volunteer opportunities?
All volunteers for our BBBST programs require a minimum one year commitment. Any short-term volunteering opportunities are highlighted in our communications which you can keep an eye out for!
I don’t live in Toronto, can I still volunteer with BBBST?
If you do not live in Toronto, we ask you to consider reaching out to your region’s BBBS instead. However, if you decide you want to continue with BBBST, you must be available to travel longer distances to meet with your Little since you will be matched with a child/youth living in Toronto. Although it is allowed, there is no expectation that a parent/guardian or Little will travel out of Toronto to meet with their Big.
If you have any questions or concerns about the volunteer process please contact email@example.com.
What impact does my donation have?
Your donation helps connect children and youth facing adversity with a caring and consistent adult mentor. BBBST was recently named as one of Charity Intelligence Canada’s Top 10 Impact: Youth Charities in the nation. The list includes not-for-profit organizations that operate programs for youth in Canada and have demonstrated the highest value created per dollar spent. A study by Boston Consulting Group showed that for every dollar committed to BBBST, there is a social return of $23 back into Toronto’s future.
Will I get a tax receipt for my donation?
Yes, all donations from individuals will receive a charitable tax receipt from BBBST. Online donations will be receipted immediately, and donations made by cheque or EFT will be receipted in-house and mailed to the donor. Funds received through sponsorship or from foundations will receive an acknowledgment letter.
What is your Charitable Registration Number?
Our Charitable Registration Number is 106793771RR0001.
How can I get the company I work for involved with BBBST?
There are many ways to get your company involved with BBBST:
- Employee Matching – Have your work match your volunteer hours as a donation, or your end of year gift
- Lunch & Learn / Big 101 Session – Host a Lunch & Learn or online Bigs 101 session to get your employees involved as Big Brothers and Big Sisters
- Fundraiser – Host a third-party fundraiser on our behalf
What are other ways I can donate?
Other ways to donate include:
How do I participate in the 50/50 raffle?
Each month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ontario hosts a 50/50 raffle in support of BBBS agencies. Click here to purchase your tickets today! A portion of all raffle sales is distributed amongst Ontarian agencies based on populations-served demographics.