A Little Time Together = A Big Impact.

There are lots of ways to be a Big Brother or Big Sister. Sometimes the consistency of knowing when and where you’ll meet your Little Brother or Little Sister makes for a perfect match.

In School-Based mentoring, Bigs and Littles meet weekly at a consistent time and place throughout the school year.  At the match site, which is typically the Little’s school or the Big’s workplace, they spend time together doing activities that are often guided by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff. Matches play games, work on crafts, do shared projects or homework — anything they can do together at their site.

The Littles in our School-Based Mentoring program are elementary and middle-school students from 15 different Twin Cities schools. Just like in our traditional Community-Based Mentoring, Big Brothers Big Sisters staff are there to support you every step of the way to help your match flourish. Sometimes, like with Beyond School Walls and High School Bigs programs, our staff are on-site whenever the matches meet to offer support and lead activities.

Beyond School Walls

Mentoring is good for kids and good for business. In our innovative Beyond Schools Walls program, we bring the Littles right to the workplace twice monthly for lunch, fun and learning. Activities can include career explorations, arts and crafts, games and guided conversations. Big Brothers Big Sisters staff are present to provide support, coordinate activities and ensure safety.

The Littles get a glimpse into a corporate setting that can open their imaginations to a wide variety of careers while developing a one-on-one bond with a caring adult. And the Bigs benefit too. They report a higher sense of job satisfaction, tend to stick with their current employer longer, and nearly all say that spending time with their Little makes them a better person.

Beyond School Walls partners provide at least 25 employee mentors, encouragement for employees to dedicate time to their Little, and a large space like a common room or cafeteria where the Bigs and Littles can meet. Corporate partners combine their philanthropy and employee engagement efforts into one meaningful program.

Thank you to our current Beyond School Walls partners. There’s always room for more!

High School Bigs

It probably comes as no surprise that younger children look up to older youth. But did you know that some Big Brothers and Big Sisters are high school students? High School Bigs are Juniors and Seniors who want to have fun and be a positive mentor for a younger child.

High Schools Bigs and their Littles make a one-to-one connection for the entire school year.  They spend one hour each week together reading, doing homework, playing board games, enjoying doing arts and crafts or participating in organized activities led by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff.

Transportation is provided between select high schools and the Littles’ schools. Participating high schools include Como Park Senior High School, Harding Senior High School, and Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul; and Park Senior High School in Cottage Grove.

Want to learn more?

Check out our FAQ, attend an Info Session or contact Rob Lyons, director of school programs, at 651-789-2474 or rlyons@bigstwincities.org for more information.

  • What’s the difference between Community-Based and School-Based matches?

    In School-Based mentoring, Bigs and Littles meet at the same time and place every week throughout the school year. Matches do a variety of fun activities together, like crafts, board games, gym time or even homework, all at the predetermined match site.

    In Community-Based mentoring, Bigs and Littles decide together what they want to do.  They meet when and where it’s convenient for them all throughout the calendar year.

  • How often do Bigs and Littles meet?

    School-Based matches meet one hour each week throughout the school year.

  • When do the School-Based matches meet? (Summer too?)

    Each match site has a predetermined schedule, so you’ll know in advance when and where you will meet.  Matches typically meet one hour each week either during the school day or after school during the school year.  They do not meet during the summer, but many stay in touch as pen pals over the summer months.

  • What do School-Based Bigs and Littles do?

    Lots of fun stuff!  It can be playing Connect 4 or checkers, shooting hoops or hopscotch, or just about any fun activity that can be accommodated at the match site. Sometimes matches will spend time on homework. Many activities are facilitated by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff.

  • Does the program cost money?

    No. There is no cost to be a Big or a Little.

  • Can matches meet or communicate outside of school?

    No. Bigs and Littles only connect during their scheduled School-Based match time together. Big Brothers Big Sisters staff help some matches stay in touch as pen pals during holiday breaks and summer months.

  • Are volunteer Bigs tutors?

    No. They are caring adults from all walks of life who want to make a positive difference in a child’s life. Sometimes Bigs and Littles might spend time together working on homework, but that’s just one part of the experiences they will share.

  • How long does it take to get matched?

    It varies. At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we’re dedicated to finding the right match, so factors like shared common interests and geography impact how quickly a match is made. Sometimes it takes just a few weeks, sometimes it’s longer. Most School-Based matches are made at the beginning of the school year.

  • How do I become a School-Based Big Brother or Big Sister?

    Hooray! Sign up to attend an Info Session here. Take the first step toward making a big impact on a little person who can’t wait to meet you.