Community-based mentoring relationships involve one-on-one outings and activities, doing things the Big and Little enjoy together, like taking a walk in the park, going to a museum, playing ball, exploring a new activity, or just hanging out and talking. Some Bigs meet their Littles on the weekends. Others get together with their Littles on weekday evenings. Each match is unique and develops a schedule that works for them, though all matches meet twice a month each month for at least one year.
Studies show that children who have role models are more likely to improve in school and in their relationships with family and friends, and less likely to skip school or use illegal drugs or alcohol. Students who are successful in school are less likely to drop out, abuse drugs, or commit crimes.
BBBSCR partners with local businesses and colleges (University at Albany, The College of St. Rose, Siena College, Union College, Skidmore College, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) to offer one-on-one site-based mentoring relationships in a group setting. These outings happen at college and business campuses twice a month for nine months of the year.
Although the site-based program is a more collective experience, not all mentoring happens in a group setting. Of course, some Littles do talk with their Bigs in the group activity scheduled for the day, but it’s perfectly fine to shoot hoops in the gym, tutor on homework, play on the playground, or simply sit and chat. At the end of the day, it’s really all about starting a friendship, providing guidance and inspiring Littles to reach their potential.
FOSTERING FUTURES MENTORING
With this program, teams of community volunteers serve as “extended families” for foster parents and children. Volunteers serve as Bigs to Littles on the foster system, and also pitch in when foster families ask for help with everyday tasks, such as laundry, light housework, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and more. This unique program affirms the value of what foster parents do and encourages them to keep on doing it.
U-CAN & OPWDD MENTORING
With our U-CAN Mentoring Program, we partner with Schenectady County Family Court and Albany County Family Court to offer children on probation the opportunity to meet with an assigned volunteer mentor for an hour each week for a year. U-CAN is a unique, court-based mentoring program designed to help troubled, young defendants successfully navigate the structure of probation, gain self-esteem and find a better path in life.
BBBSCR partners with the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities to offer empowering mentoring relationships for children receiving OPWDD services.