Think back to the people in your life that took the time to share their hobbies, their talents, and gave you the gift of their time… how have these experiences shaped your life?

It isn’t rocket science.

Children that grow up with access to caring adults, positive hobbies, and opportunities to master skills are much less likely to ever get involved in problem behaviors, which means stronger kids, stronger families and better communities.



Mentoring is fun, it’s easy… and most of all it matters.

Who are the children served by the program? Children served are:

  • Ages 5 and older
  • Residents of Jefferson, Elk and McKean counties
  • Interested in having a Big Brother or Big Sister
  • Residing with a parent willing and able to support the match in getting together
  • Experiencing some hardship in their lives and can benefit from a relationship with an additional positive adult role model

How do children benefit? Children matched with a mentor for at least one year show improved:

  • Self confidence
  • Coping, self management, communication, problem solving, and decision making skills
  • Sense of future/goal setting
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Use of community and school resources
  • Academic performance and school attendance
  • Interpersonal skills, and relationships with family members, pro-social peers, and other adults
  • Ability to resist peer pressure and to avoid problem behaviors such as fighting, skipping school, and alcohol and drug use

How are matches made? Matches are based on:

  • Shared hobbies
  • Mentor preferences about child’s ages, personality, family composition and other characteristics
  • Geographic proximity – typically within 10 miles

What are the qualifications for becoming a mentor? Volunteer mentors must:

  • Be 18 years of age and older
  • Have a valid driver license and reliable transportation
  • Be able to successfully complete an interview and background screening process
  • Be responsible and trustworthy
  • Commit to meeting a child 2-4 times per month for at least one year
  • Enjoy having fun while making a difference

Is there any support provided to volunteer mentors? Big Brothers Big Sisters staff support matches by:

  • Offering training to mentors
  • Provided regular ongoing contact to each mentor, child, and parent throughout the match
  • Offering mentors and parents resources tailored to the specific needs each child served
  • Facilitating free group recreational activities
  • Distributing information about free community activities, festivals, and events
  • Securing free tickets for matches to attend college and professional sporting events, theatre productions, museums, zoos, and amusement parks