I am in the process of becoming a Big Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. I want to share with you what has happened up until this point-right before being "matched" with my little sister.
1. I visited the Big Brothers Big Sisters website at http://www.bbbs.org. Here, I read a few stories about bigs and littles and their experiences together, as well as some of their ideas about activities to do with your little, before finding my local chapter.
2. My local chapter's website had a preliminary application form, but yours will at least have contact information. After I filled out this form, a representative contacted me, and asked me to (see #3)
3. I filled out the application. Very important to this step is completely filling out all information about your references. I did so, and in step 4, was told this was a very good thing, as they mail letters to the references.
4. I interviewed with the program representative. The interview is long, but interesting, as you start to get a feel for what the typical little and family will be like, and express your own interests.
5. A background check was done on me. Of course. I would be very upset if they did not perform this step.
6. I went to a training session, in which I got a lot more information about working with people from different levels of income than me, and an idea about what happens on the day I meet my little.
7. Once all my references were in, I was given to the screening committee, who reviewed my information and apparently did not see any red flags!
Now I am just waiting to hear from the representative regarding when my match will be. Based on these experiences, I believe the most important quality in a Big is a willingness to work with people who are different from yourself. Your little will not be rich-this you can probably guess-but he or she may come from a background that is vastly different from your own. An ability to respect differences is vital.