Big Brothers Big Sisters Needs Mentors at School & Community Center

Big Brothers Big Sisters Needs Mentors at School & Community Center

It’s back to school time and that means that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSAZ) will be resuming its lunch time and afternoon mentoring programs at eight sites across the valley: Pueblo Elementary and Paiute Neighborhood Center in Scottsdale; San Marcos Elementary in Chandler; Balsz Elementary, Lowell Elementary, Longview Elementary and Maie Bartlett Heard Elementary in Phoenix; and Bales Elementary in Buckeye.

BBBSAZ is actively recruiting community members who live or work near these sites to give two to four hours a month and be volunteer mentors. In order to continue these programs through the school year, BBBSAZ needs to recruit at least 15 volunteers for each site to be Bigs.

Each student at the site (“Little”) is matched one-to-one with a volunteer mentor (“Big”) who meets with him or her at the school at least two times per month. They participate in structured activities with other matches that focus on helping the child build self-confidence and take their first steps on the path to success. Each site and match is professionally managed by a trained program specialist who works with the volunteer, child, school personnel and the child’s family to make sure the match is successful.

“Being a Big Brother or Big Sister at one of our sites is an easy way to experience the power of being in a mentoring relationship, and really make a difference in a child’s life,” said Susan Wiltfong, vice president of programs at BBBSAZ. “It’s a great way for volunteers to give back and meet others who give their time to help kids in our community.”

The Littles enrolled in the site-based programs are ages 6 to 13, and are referred by teachers, counselors and administrators who feel that the student could benefit by having a consistent, positive role model. Students enrolled in the program often report that they have a more positive attitude toward school and academics because they they look forward to meeting with their mentor. Parents and school officials credit the mentor’s influence when they see improvements in the child’s grades and behavior, and many report fewer truancies among students in the program.

“Our site-based mentors often tell us they feel they get more out of the mentoring experience than the students,” said Brandi Devlin, BBBSAZ senior director of marketing. “While we ask for a one-year commitment, many matches stay together until the child leaves the school to go on to middle school or high school; and many of those matches transition to our traditional community-based mentoring program where they meet on the weekends to continue the mentoring relationship.”

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and commit to meeting with their Little through the school year. The volunteer onboarding process includes an online application, interview, training, and a background check.

Volunteers who would like to be a Big Brother or Big Sister can visit to get started or call (602) 264-9254.

Scottsdale: Pueblo Elementary School near Hayden Road & McDonald Road
Meets Tuesdays during lunch

Scottsdale: Paiute Neighborhood Center near Osborne Road & 65th Street
Meets Thursdays in the afternoon

Chandler: San Marcos Elementary near Frye & Arizona Ave.
Meets Thursdays during lunch

Phoenix: Maie Bartlett Heard Elementary near Thomas Road & 19th Ave.
Meets Tuesdays during lunch

Phoenix: Lowell Elementary near Buckeye Road & 3rd Ave.
Meets Tuesdays during lunch

Phoenix: Balsz Elementary near Loop 202 & 44th Street
Meets Tuesdays during lunch

Phoenix: Longview Elementary near Indian School Road & 12th Street
Meets Thursdays during lunch

Buckeye: Bales Elementary near I-10 & Miller Road
Meets Tuesdays/Thursdays during lunch
This is a special program for volunteers age 55 and older in partnership with Experience Matters


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