Frequently Asked Questions
How do I become a Big Brother or Big Sister?

Learn all about what it means to be a Big, the requirements for applying, and the enrollment process.

Why is mentoring important?

Mentoring is the act of providing guidance and friendship to someone who could use a role model for life’s choices and decisions. It is proven to help kids reach goals, improve self-esteem and achieve their full potential in life.

How does mentoring work?

It’s simple and deep. An adult volunteer develops a relationship with a young person, offering support and guidance. By spending time together, learning new things and cultivating a friendship, the mentor helps the young person make better life choices. And we offer professional guidance to each match every step of the way.

Why choose our programs over others?

Big Brothers Big Sisters pioneered youth mentoring in 1904. We are the industry leader in mentoring services to children. An independent national study found kids involved in our mentoring programs were more likely to graduate and stay out of trouble when compared to their peers without mentors. They also found kids improved their school grades and relationships with others. Additionally, our programs continuously show results, characterized by three data-driven elements that most mentoring programs do not feature:

  1. Professional supervision: screening and training of the Big, as well as the families we serve, considerate, intentional creation of each match, and the match support with the guardian, volunteer, and child in order to ensure the success of the match and the happiness of all parties involved.
  2. Longevity: Each relationship is unique and different, thus it takes time to develop. That’s why we suggest matches meet to 2-4 times a month for a minimum of 6-12 hours a month. We ask the Big to commit to a a minimum of one year in order to help establish consistency and reliability for the child.
  3. Developmental relationships: we support friendships between adults and kids that develop over time. This proves to be highly valuable when the adult includes a kid in age appropriate day-to-day activities. Through the focused attention of a trusted adult, the children gain confidence, build interpersonal skills, improve their grades and begin to envision a better future for themselves.
Does Big Brothers Big Sisters have any results to prove success?

We measure the impact of services by administering a nationally-accepted test known as the Youth Outcomes Survey. This survey supports positive short-term and long-term outcomes for youth in three main areas: educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, and increased social and emotional well-being.

What is your service area?

We serve Sacramento, Yolo and South Placer Counties.

What is your greatest need?

We would not be able to serve Littles without our Bigs! But we have a particular need to recruit volunteers, in particular diverse men. We also need help reaching our financial goals to continue professionally supporting our matches, finding volunteers for the Littles on our waitlist, and ensuring that we’re reaching all eligible and deserving children within our territory.

Do you offer one-day or "Done-in-a-day" volunteer opportunities?

We have a limited number of corporate-based volunteer opportunities around our agency events. Join our e-news for updates or contact us if your company would like to get involved.

What is Big Brothers Big Sisters of America?

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is the umbrella organization that supports local Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies. They are headquartered in Tampa Bay, Florida and offer standards for agencies to provide consistent, quality services. They do not provide direct funding for our organization.

How many chapters exist nationwide?

More than 300 agencies are spread throughout North America. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America even has partnerships with organizations across the globe.

Where do you get your funding?

We are locally funded, receiving 52.8% of our funding from individuals, either through direct giving, indirect gifts (household donations) or event-related donations. Corporate donations and Foundation gifts each account for 28.8% of our financial support. A smaller amount comes from government, earned income, and board giving.

Will someone from your organization speak at a business or social club?

We’re active in the community and happy to make a presentation to your organization. Contact us at

How long do littles wait to get matched?

Our recently-matched children waited 6-8 months on average for mentors to enter their lives. Volunteers are the essence of our mentoring relationships. However, the reason we have such a high success rate is that our matches need to be a great fit for each other — that takes time. There are more volunteers then professional support staff to make the matches, so we need financial support to engage volunteers and reduce the number of kids on our waiting list. Please donate or recruit Big Brothers, particularly diverse men, to help get these kids matched!

How many littles do you serve?

In 2018, we served 269 families. However, according to the 2017 census data, there are 672,910 single-parent households within our agency territory of Sacramento, Placer, and Yolo counties. We are touching less than 1% of the community need and need to grow to reach every eligible deserving child.

How can I learn more?

Reach out to us by calling 916.646.9300 or email at We’re active on social media! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sign up for our newsletter right here.


When you support Big Brothers Big Sisters, you change lives for children in our community.