Ways to Volunteer
The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Laurel Region (BBBSLR) is attained through unique programming options that are individualized for each child and volunteer. The agency provides the supportive services necessary for youth to gain a valuable education and improve self-confidence while offering them tools to become successful in life, all through community participation in children’s learning and personal growth.
BBBSLR staff take great care in matching together a child and volunteer with similar interests and hobbies. Thus, volunteers are encouraged to try to engage in meaningful conversations with the child and incorporate the child into their daily routine through free and low-cost activities they would normally do. The most important thing for a volunteer to remember is that you are a friend that child can count on, someone to share the little moments that can create big magic!
There are two main program options that fit most volunteers’ schedules:
Community-Based Mentoring Program:
In Community-Based Mentoring, Big Brother and Big Sister volunteers provide children and youth - our “Littles” - individualized time and attention on a regular basis, typically 2 – 4 times a month, for two to three hours. During unstructured weekly or bi-weekly outings, filled with conversations and shared activities, they develop a relationship that helps youth manage the every day challenges that are part of “growing up.” During the time with their Big, children gain new skills, explore new interests and test behaviors that expand their experience base beyond their family or neighborhood. Over the course of time, children gain confidence in themselves, acquire new skills and competencies, and develop an enhanced capacity to care for others – all tasks that are a part of developing healthy maturity. Volunteers experience a sense of discovery and enjoyment as they see the world of possibility open up through the child’s eyes.
School Based Mentoring Programs:
Through School-Based Mentoring Programs, Big Brother and Big sister volunteers offer children and youth individualized time and attention on a consistent basis, with the venue being the child’s school rather than the community. School personnel help identify those children who can most benefit from an extra caring adult in their lives. Volunteers and children meet regularly during the school year – typically each week, utilizing the resources available within the school: computer labs, the library, the gym, a classroom, or the schoolyard. During the summer, they may exchange letters, email messages or phone calls, or attend an agency-sponsored event. Some matches move to become Community-Based Matches so they can meet more regularly.
Whether they just talk, play board games, or read the newspaper together, their relationship promotes a positive school experience for the child: good attendance, positive peer and adult relationships, a positive attitude, and academic enrichment. As their friendship evolves over time, volunteers and children discover ways to make school and learning fun. When matches continue from one school year to the next, volunteers experience the satisfaction of watching their Littles achieve success in school.
Volunteers in School-Based Mentoring include: high school students, college students, and adult community members, often volunteers from corporations and businesses.
BBBSLR operates three School-Based Mentoring Program options to allow for greater flexibility in meeting volunteers’ needs:
Breakfast Buddies: This program achieves success by matching community volunteers with at-risk elementary students and providing a weekly breakfast-time mentoring session. The goal of the program is to allow for the elementary students to experience a positive mentoring session and ultimately improve grades and reduce their tardiness and absenteeism rates.
Lunch Buddies: This program achieves success by matching local college students and community volunteers with at-risk elementary students and providing a weekly lunch-time mentoring session. The goal of the program is to allow for the elementary students to experience a positive mentoring session and ultimately improve grades and reduce their tardiness and absenteeism rates.
After-School Tutoring: This program achieves success by matching high school students, college students, and community volunteers with at-risk elementary students and providing weekly after-school tutoring sessions. The goal of the program is to improve the grades of the elementary school students and reduce their tardiness and absenteeism rates.
Not in a position to make the time commitment necessary to be a Big Brother or a Big Sister? You can still help us. We have several volunteer opportunities on our special events committees and various subcommittees such as programs, marketing and finance.
There are also many fundraising events that are in need of your expertise. Help on a committee for: Bowl For Kid's Sake / Concerts / Golf for Kids' Sake / Clays for Kids' Sake / PA Lottery Calendar