Little Steps Lead To A Big Impact

When people think of mentoring, they think of Big Brothers Big Sisters. That’s because for more than 100 years we’ve worked to develop a youth mentoring program that works. Our experienced approach to recruiting, screening, matching and supporting our mentoring relationships has resulted in thousands of lasting relationships, and helped change the lives of young people across the country.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County matches children between the ages of 6 and 14 with caring, committed volunteer mentors. Although we believe that every child can benefit from having a mentor in their lives, our program focuses on children living in homes with one or no biological parents.

Note: the guardian of the child must complete and sign the application.

Kids matched with a
Big Brother or Big Sister:

Are more confident
Are more likely to steer clear of drugs and alcohol
Do better in school
Get along better with their family and friends
Feel better about themselves

Your child’s safety is very important to us.

Big Brothers Big Sisters conducts a thorough background check on every volunteer and every match is regularly reviewed by a professional Match Support Specialist.

Parents are our Partners

Parents and guardians are an integral part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters match at every step of the process. We’ll work closely with you because your input is important. Not only do you provide information about your child’s strengths and needs, but you approve the selection of the Big Brother or Big Sister. Once the match is made, parents remain closely involved in several key ways:

Approving match activities and supporting your child’s involvement.
Asking your child questions about the match meetings and reporting any concerns to agency staff.
Regularly reporting back to the agency about your child’s progress and milestones in the match relationship.

Big Brothers Big Sisters will contact you regularly, but we welcome your feedback at any time!

Participating in training on child safety offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, and communicating with your child about the training he or she receives.

Looking for more information? Review answers to commonly asked questions.

Child Enrollment Application

or download a PDF application

The safety and well-being of the children we serve is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ highest priority . We strive to achieve the highest quality possible in matching a child to a caring volunteer Big, and in providing ongoing professional support services to our children, parents and volunteers.

To help ensure child safety, Big Brothers Big Sisters National Standards of Excellence requires that each volunteer must complete a thorough screening process that includes

Big Brothers Big Sisters also provides child safety tips to you and your child, and we welcome your questions and feedback. Throughout the life of the match, our professional staff will be in ongoing communication with you, your child, and your child’s Big. Our staff and your child’s Big, with your support, are committed to the healthy growth and development of your child.

1. Inquiry
Contact the BBBS office via phone or email to learn more about the program
2. Application
Parent/Legal Guardian completes and returns a youth application to the BBBS office. The application can be sent to you via email or mail
3. Schedule the Intake
Once BBBS receives your completed application, we will call to schedule an in-home intake interview with the parent/guardian and child
4. Child Intake
BBBS staff will come to your home to complete the intake. We will go over the program, answer any questions and provide information about child safety. We will spend time getting to know you, your child and the home environment so we can ensure BBBS is the right program for your child and that we are able to find the best mentor
5. File Processing
After the intake, we contact (with your permission) your child’s school and other service providers so we can get a complete picture of your child; their strengths and needs. Once all of the information is compiled and assessed, you will receive a letter stating whether your child has been accepted into the program. ( Unfortunately, we cannot accept every child that applies.)
6. Ready-to-be-Matched Pool
Once your child is accepted, they enter this pool. Kids and Volunteer mentors are not matched on a first come, first serve basis. We try to make the best matches possible, based on personality, interests, location and preferences. We will contact you once we find a Big that we feel will be a good fit. While you wait, your family will be invited to events throughout the year and will be contacted to ensure we have the most updated information.

An orientation and training process that outlines the individualized needs of your child and provides information and resources on how to encourage your child’s healthy development