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FAQ About the Program
GoGirls! is a limited session (seven session of up to 2 hours) group mentoring program which Big Brothers Big Sisters Australia has licensed from Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada. The program targets young girls 12 to 14 year for age and supports them in choosing and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, building self confidence and developing leadership skills. This program has been run as a pilot in South Australia and is now available to be run wherever funding is available.
Big Brothers Big Sisters currently operates programs in Melbourne, Wangaratta, Geelong, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and from early August 2010, in Brisbane.
Since our inception, we have supported thousands of young people across Australia to realise their potential through the provision of the highest quality mentoring programs. We are actively pursuing partners and funding to enable us to grow our programs across Australia providing critical support to vulnerable young people who need our support.
BBBS programs are evidence based with measureable positive outcomes and proven processes. Innovative evaluation frameworks are developed in consultation with our Program Delivery Partners across Australia, government and corporate funding partners along with international colleagues.
Specific evaluation indicators used to ensure that young people are able to participate fully in family and community life includes:
- Level of awareness of consequences of ‘at risk’ behaviour;
- Level of misuse of alcohol and other substances;
- Awareness of alternative initiatives/support services;
- School/training attendance or employment rates;
- Relationships with parents/family/friends;
- Establishment of a ‘Sense of Future’.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is Australia’s leading mentoring program for disadvantaged young people supported by 100 years of international experience and expertise. Our mission is to realise the potential of young people through the provision of the highest quality mentoring programs.
At Big Brothers Big Sisters we believe that every young person in Australia should feel valued and important. Research has demonstrated that our mentoring services can empower young people to reach their potential, make positive changes in their behaviour, and build self-worth and trust in their relationships at home and school.
The programs are based on the simplicity and power of friendship.
FAQ Young People Referrals
Approximately 30% of young people are referred by their parents or grandparents. The remaining referrals come from schools, youth and family support agencies, foster care agencies, Child Protection Services and disability programs.
Our programs match vulnerable young people, aged between 7 and 17 years (specialist programs up to 25 years), living in complex social predicaments and in need of additional support, with adult volunteer mentors.
Young people assisted by Big Brothers Big Sisters may be identified by one or more of the following characteristics:
- Living in low income households and entrenched cycles of unemployment and poverty
- Having parents with psychiatric illness, intellectual disability or an addiction
- Having exposure to family violence or child abuse
- Possessing poor socialisation skills, having difficulties making friends and have experienced bullying
- Experiencing learning difficulties at school or displaying behavioural concerns
- Experiencing family breakdown and/or residing in foster care or residential care placements
- Possessing an intellectual disability
FAQ Volunteer Mentors
Certainly, provided you meet the entry criteria (at least 18 years of age, have an effective form of transport and agree to undertake the selection/training process). Simply complete the Enquiry Form under the Contact Us tab on this website.
A comprehensive volunteer selection procedure exists for people applying to be a mentor. After a formal application form is submitted the process includes:
- Citing three referees
- A National Criminal Record Check
- A Working With Children Check
- A psychological profile
- 2-3 interviews
- A home visit by a Mentoring Coordinator
There is also on-line and face-to-face training before the mentor is matched to a young person. Each match is continually supported and guided by BBBS. During the selection process, volunteers come to fully understand the roles and responsibilities of being a mentor.
Mentors commit to spending quality time with a young person, a minimum of one hour per week for a minimum of 12 months, undertaking a range of simple and inexpensive activities. Most outings take place during the weekend or sometimes after school. Mentors involved in school-based mentoring visit during school hours.
If you meet the entry criteria (at least 18 years of age, have an effective form of transport and agree to undertake the selection/training process) then application can be made either directly to any of our Program Delivery Partners or via the Enquiry Form under the Contact Us tab on this website
Volunteer mentors come from all walks of life, whether married, single, with or without children. With a wide variety of interests and experiences, all our mentors have in common a desire to make a meaningful contribution to the life of a young person by sharing minimum of one hour a week with them, undertaking fun and simple activities.
Mentors need to be someone to trust, to have fun with, to talk and run to when needed. Mentors involve young people in activities that enhance the friendship and contribute to an environment where the young person can develop positive self-esteem, confidence and life skills.
Mentors must be at least 18 years of age and have a viable means of transport (public transport or car). Mentors are required to participate in a selection process and must undertake both a Police and Working with Children checks.
It is important to note, our volunteer mentors are not replacement parents, social workers or respite carers. Working closely with the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring staff, volunteer mentors develop a friendship with a young person, providing support and guidance as needed. BBBS Mentor Coordinators are there to provide advice and support services throughout the life of the friendship.
Our greatest need is to secure more financial support which would enable us to employ more Mentor Coordinators. Currently young people often wait for long periods before they are matched.
Additional funding would enable us to significantly reduce waiting lists thereby assisting many more young people.
Once matched, Mentor Coordinators maintain regular contact and provide ongoing support with all stakeholders. Mentors also have a responsibility to keep in touch with their Mentor Coordinator, particularly when any questions or issues arise they are unsure how to handle.
Once matched, mentors are invited to attend volunteer support meetings and social get togethers. Volunteers, young people and their family are fully supported throughout the life of the match.
Big Brothers Big Sisters undertakes a careful and thorough 'matching process’. Great care is taken in selecting volunteers, orientating them and matching them with young people. Our goal is to establish matches that are well suited to the needs of both the young person and the volunteer mentor, and are built to last.
The matching process is based on consultation where the BBBS Mentoring Coordinator discusses prospective mentoring opportunities with volunteer mentors, the young person and the young person’s parents/guardians.
Volunteers are matched according to a number of factors including location, interests, skill levels and personality.
FAQ Funding Donations
A one off donation is where you provide your credit card details for us to receive a single donation of the amount you specify. A recurring donation is where you give us authority to receive a monthly donation commencing on a date you specify for an indefinite or defined period of your choosing.
A donation may be made be made by clicking on the Make a Donation box on the right hand side of any page on this website.
As a not-for-profit organisation, Big Brothers Big Sisters relies on funding from a variety of sources including: State & Federal Government grants; Philanthropic Trusts & Foundations; corporate partnerships & donations; individual donors and general fundraising activities.
In addition, Big Brothers Big Sisters relies on pro bono support from a variety of generous individuals and businesses.