One-to-One Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters
One-to-One Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ithaca and Tompkins County is an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the Ithaca Youth Bureau. Our mission is to establish and nurture friendships between caring, responsible adults and children in need for such friendship. Through these friendships, One-to-One seeks to improve the lives of children and their families, enable volunteers to themselves benefit from their relationships with children and families, and bring community members together. Big Brothers and Big Sisters help children learn their own abilities and worth, teach them how to have friends and be friends, and provide them with opportunities for fun and discovery.

One-to-One BBBS of The Ithaca Youth Bureau, which serves youth throughout Ithaca and Tompkins County, is a unique program because each match defines its own areas of exploration and development based on the particular strengths of the youth and the mentor. In addition, its design as an outreach program allows us to serve youth that may not be reached by other programs and services. Currently we have many partnerships throughout the community, and are looking to create more.

We are here to serve the children and families of Ithaca and Tompkins County. To enroll in the program a child must be between the ages of 6 and 14. We have matches all over the county, but currently, due to budgetary constraints, we are only able to enroll new children who reside within the City of Ithaca. Please feel free to contact our agency if you would like to discuss the details of this situation.

The enrollment process is quick and easy. Just give us a call or stop in for a visit. We'll take down some basic information, and then schedule an interview for you and your child. Our enrollment staff member will visit you at your home, and conduct a thorough and important interview with you and your child so we can make a great match.

Because Big Brothers Big Sisters is such successful program, we have many children waiting to be matched. This wait list may cause your child to wait up to 1 year before they can be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister. During that time, we will invite your child to our "While You Wait Saturdays", and we will stay in touch with you. While you're waiting, don't lose heart. We are always working to find fun and safe volunteers for every child on the wait list!

What to Expect
Big Brothers and Sisters are volunteers from the community who have decided that they would like to play a positive role in the life of a local child. They come from all walks of life and range in age. All volunteers have committed to spend about 2 hours a week for at least 1 full year with your child.

Bigs Selection Process
At One-to-One BBBS we are committed to finding fun, safe, and appropriate Big Brothers and Big Sisters for all children we serve. Firstly, the vast majority of people coming through the doors of an agency like ours are honest, caring, and well-intentioned people. That's why they want to volunteer for our community in the first place. But, just in case of an individual who has the wrong intentions, we take many steps to ensure that only the best are matched with our kids. Every potential volunteer goes through the following process:
  • A thorough interview by our enrollment staff, including questions about background, upbringing, philosophy's about children and discipline, level of commitment, etc.
  • A thorough background check conducted at all of the following levels: City of Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York State, and National (College police are also contacted in the case of college volunteers.)
  • Each volunteer provides 3 references that must provide positive feedback.
  • Each volunteer attends an initial orientation to ensure that all program rules and policies are understood and will be followed.