Big Brothers, Big Sisters Mission Statement
“To enrich the lives of youth in Trinidad and Tobago by providing them with healthy and nurturing relationships with caring adults who can serve as positive role models.”
What is Big Brothers Big Sisters?
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) began in 1904 in the United States of America, introducing a unique style of one-to-one mentoring of children and adolescents.
In 1998, an organization called Big Brothers Big Sisters International was established to assist interested countries in setting up their own programmes. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Trinidad and Tobago (BBBSTT) is one of the latest recipients of their support, and you can be a part of this well-respected and influential programme! The Heroes Foundation has been the proud host organization for the BBBS programme since August 2004.
How does Big Brothers Big Sisters Work?
This programme pairs an adult volunteer, known as a “Big”, in a one-to-one relationship with a child or adolescent, called a “Little”, of the same gender.
The BBBS Case Officer, to ensure that a healthy, positive relationship develops, monitors the pairs, or “Matches”. Moreover, the BBBS programme is designed to give young people the opportunity to interact in a positive way with an adult outside of their family or regular circle.
The mentor/Big becomes a positive role model and friend to the young person. They do not adopt the role of parent or of disciplinarian with the child/adolescent. Their purpose is to develop a trusting, caring and healthy relationship with the child through guidance, listening, caring and modeling consistency and positive behaviour.
Each match created by BBBSTT is designed to serve the needs of the child or adolescent, giving him/her the opportunity to have an adult (18+) present in their life, filling a non-authoritative role, serving as a friend and ally, and providing support and encouragement.
Matches are made following the acceptance of the applications (adults and children), interviews, and the determination of compatibility. These Matches are monitored for at least a year to ensure a trusting, caring, and healthy relationship develops.
The Big spends a minimum of two (2) hours each week with the Little, participating in a wide range of activities, from important things like helping with homework to simple things like window-shopping, playing a board game or just hanging out. Volunteers, Parents and Guardians are given support and training throughout the term of the Match by the foundation and the BBBS Case Officer(s).
The efforts made by the foundation, the Case Officer(s) and the Bigs alike, are all geared toward the support and positive encouragement of young people who need a listening ear, a kind heart and the dedication to this wonderful programme which has the ability to enrich the lives of so many.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Intake Process
To apply to be a Big, you need to be at least 18 years old. Along with a completed Application Form, the Case Officer will also need to collect from you:
- 2 forms of identification
- Proof of address
- A Police Certificate of Character from your local Police Station ($50 charge / 2 week wait)
NB: The Application Form asks each person to list two reference persons: one professional and one personal.
When all these documents have been given to the Case Officer, people will be called to arrange a 45 minute interview. Case Officer’s often conduct home and/or workplace visits with the Applicant.
To apply to be a Little a child or adolescent’s Parent or Legal Guardian must apply for them. Children from age 6 up to 16 are eligible to be considered. Along with a completed Application Form, the Case Officer will also need to collect:
- 2 forms of identification of the Parent / Guardian
- Proof of address
- Picture of child / adolescent
- Copy of child / adolescent’s latest school report
- Copy of child / adolescent’s birth certificate
Both the child / adolescent and their Parent / Guardian will be interviewed at their home in two separate sessions.