A Big Brother, Big Sister or Big Couple gives a child an additional friend in his/her life. Bigs are carefully screened volunteers from the community who spend time each week with their Littles. Community Based matches do things together throughout the community, like visiting the library or museum, skating at the park, going out to eat, or simply hanging out. Site Based matches meet at a designated location like an elementary school or after school program and play games, read books, draw pictures, or do other activities available at the site.
It’s a big step for your little one but we assure you it’s the right one. By enrolling your child with Big Brothers Big Sisters, you give them a chance to see their unlimited potential and develop into even more responsible, successful, well-rounded individuals.
- Littles are girls and boys between 5 and 14.
- Littles want another adult to spend time with.
- To be matched through our Community Based mentoring program, a little must:
- In La Crosse – must live in La Crosse County, Stoddard or La Crescent.
- In Winona – must live in Winona County.
- In Vernon County – must live in Vernon County
- Site Based mentoring programs are available for children regularly attending the following sites:
- La Crosse County Area:
- Hamilton Elementary School
- Northside Elementary School
- Surround Care at Emerson Elementary School
- Erickson Boys and Girls Club
- Mathy Center Boys and Girls Club
- Ho-Chunk Nation Youth and Learning Center
- West Salem Elementary School
- Holmen Elementary School
- Winona County Area:
- Key Kids at Goodview Elementary School
- Key Kids at Jefferson Elementary School
- Key Kids at Madison Elementary School
- Key Kids at Washington-Kosciusko Elementary School
- Lewiston-Altura Elementary School
- Vernon County Area:
- Westby Elementary School
- La Crosse County Area:
Making the best match possible between a child and a volunteer is critical to the growth and development of a child. Before we begin the matching process, we start by thoroughly screening potential Bigs.
Big Brothers Big Sisters National Standards of Excellence require each volunteer to complete an extensive screening process that includes:
- Completion of a formal written application.
- Background checks at the national, state, and local levels.
- Reference checks.
- An in-person interview.
- 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 development.
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. It’s the best way to build a strong relationship that will have the greatest impact on your child’s future success.
Not only will you provide information about your child’s strengths and needs, but you’ll also approve the selection of the Big Brother or Big Sister. Once the match is made, you remain closely involved in many ways, including:
- Approving activities and outings for your child and their Big
- Asking your child questions about those outings, and sharing what you learn with the agency staff
- Reporting your child’s progress and milestones to the agency on a regular basis (Big Brothers Big Sisters will contact you, but we welcome your feedback 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.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Big Couples vary in age, interests and professions, but all want to do something to help children. Bigs volunteer to share their time and friendship with a young person. They make at least a one-year commitment to meet regularly with their Littles. Like many friendships these relationships can last much longer, some even for a lifetime.
Thanks to generous support from the La Crosse Community Foundation, in 2015 Big Brothers Big Sisters of the 7 Rivers Region has launched the REACH initiative.
- Education and Careers
- Arts and Culture
- Civic Engagement
- Health and Wellness