Mentoring 101

 Wondering what Mentoring is all about? This page will give you an idea about what it means to be a Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Mentoring is being a friend to a child or youth.

Simple, yet so powerful! Providing friendship, gentle guidance and support to a child or youth can make a big difference.

Mentoring is a commitment.

Whether you have committed to a short term program or a longer term match, it is important to follow through on your commitment. Experience shows that if a match ends prematurely, or if there is not a formal ‘closure’ to the match, there can be a negative impact on the child or youth. But we know that lives change! In cases where matches must end early, Mentors work with their Service Delivery Staff to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.

Mentoring is a partnership.

Mentors are not alone! Quite the opposite, Mentoring is a partnership between the Mentor, the child, Service Delivery Staff and the parent or guardian. For school-based programs, the parent or guardian may be less involved, but there is a school liaison to help things go smoothly. Each person plays an active and important role in building a meaningful friendship!

Mentoring involves trust.

A strong Mentoring relationship starts with the development of trust between the Mentor and the child. As you can imagine, learning to trust, especially for children and youth who may have been let down in the past, can take time. Mentors who build trust gradually often find that they are able to provide support and guidance in ways they never expected at the beginning of the relationship!

Mentoring comes with responsibilities.

Though Mentoring is largely a fun and easy experience, it also comes with certain important responsibilities. As you continue to read you will be provided with information regarding Mentor requirements and responsibilities.


Mentoring is diverse.


There are different Mentoring options to suit different interests and life situations. Learn more about the different Mentoring opportunities below.

Mentoring is inexpensive.

You may think that Mentoring costs a lot of money, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Big Brothers Big Sisters encourages no-cost and low-cost activities such as baking cookies, playing basketball, picnics, etc.

Mentoring is not time consuming.

Have a busy schedule? No problem! While some programs encourage a commitment of a few hours per week, you can be a Mentor with a commitment of just one hour per week.

Mentoring is fun!

It’s really pretty simple – be a reliable, trusting, caring, fun and positive friend to your Mentee, and let the good times roll!

Mentoring is rewarding.

We talk a lot about how Mentoring helps children and youth, but what’s in it for you? Lots! Here are just a few of the many benefits that you can get from Mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters:

  • Develop a long lasting friendship
  • Get a sense of personal fulfillment from helping a child or youth
  • Contribute positively to a child’s development and self-esteem
  • Build up your self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Feel more involved in the community
  • Make new contacts with volunteers and agency staff
  • Feel young again!


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