Mentor Requirements and Responsibilities
Before you explore this section, you should know that you are not alone. You are joining a community of volunteers and staff who are there to support you. BBBS Calgary and Area staff will orient and train you, and will support you throughout the match with your mentee.
To mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area, you must:
- Meet your selected programs minimum age requirement. There is no upper age limit. Please see individual program pages for specific age requirements
- Provide a satisfactory criminal record check
- Provide three or four satisfactory references
- Respect the confidential nature of our services and sign a confidentiality agreement
To mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area, you should also:
- Be interested in developing a positive friendship with a child or youth
- Be trustworthy, energetic, mature, stable, reliable, accepting, patient, caring and respectful of others
- Be supportive and non-judgmental in your interactions with children and youth
- Promote the welfare and safety of the child or youth
- Act with integrity
- Be comfortable with the Big Brother Big Sister of Calgary and Area’s core values, policies and procedures
What will be expected of me?
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area mentors will be expected to:
- Commit approximately one to four hours per week (this varies across programs – see individual program pages details)
- Commit for up to one year (some programs encourage shorter or longer time commitments)
- Ensure the safety and security of the child or youth when they are together.
- Communicate openly and regularly with the parent/guardian (for one-to-one community-based matches) or with the school liaisons (for in-school matches)
- Communicate openly and regularly with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area caseworker
- Keep everyone informed of life changes that may impact the match
- Work with their mentee and their caseworker to set a goal for the match (the goal is reviewed annually)
- Emphasize friendship over changing the behaviour of the child or youth
- Be consistent and dependable and maintain a steady, positive presence in the young person’s life
- Involve the child or youth in deciding how to spend time together
- Listen to and respect the thoughts and viewpoints of the child or youth, and focus on their strengths
- Have realistic expectations, and be prepared for any issues that may arise
- Use available resources, including the support and guidance of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area staff
- Work with their Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area caseworker to properly close the match when the match ends
What will not be expected of me?
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area mentors will not be expected to:
- Provide basic necessities like food or money
- Organize elaborate or expensive activities
- Act as a substitute for a parent, guardian or teacher
- Act as a tutor
- Take the child or youth to appointments or other personal activities
- Act as a babysitter for the child or youth or his or her siblings/friends
- Act as a therapist or social worker
What will I have to avoid?
Common sense should be used here, but in general, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area mentors should avoid:
- Criticizing or speaking harshly to the child or youth
- Disciplining the child or youth
- Any action or discussion that does not respect the values of the family
- Any action or discussion that could in any way be interpreted as inappropriate
Your caseworker at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area will provide additional information and will guide and support you in your interactions with your mentee.
Responsibilities related to Child Safety
The safety of the children and youth in our programs is our number one priority, and this should also be the number one priority for mentors. The mentor is responsible for the safety and well being of their mentee at all times during outings. It is also important that the mentor act safely and appropriately when they are with their mentee.
Before matches start, all mentors as well as the children and youth and their parents/guardians must complete mandatory child safety training, which provides important information on how to respond to safety concerns. (Please note, for site based matches such as In School Mentoring, the parents/guardians are generally not required to complete the child safety training.) On an ongoing basis, caseworkers will discuss the safety and security of the match with mentors, and mentors should call the caseworker if issues arise at any time during the match.