One-to-One Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ithaca and Tompkins County

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BBBS Participants
One-to-One Big Brothers Big Sisters serves youth throughout Ithaca and Tompkins County.  We create community based matches, school based matches and site based matches.
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What is One-to-One Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ithaca and Tompkins County?
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. We create community-based matches, school-based matches, and site-based matches. Currently we have many partnerships throughout the community, and are looking to create more. One-to-One Big Brothers Big Sisters is an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and a program of the Ithaca Youth Bureau.
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What programs does BBBS provide?

Community Based Mentoring
Community Based Mentoring is the biggest aspect of what we do at One-to-One BBBS. Volunteers provide Littles with one-to-one time and attention in our community.  Bigs and Littles usually meet once per week for a couple of hours.  During these outings, matches participate in a variety of fun, recreational, and educational activities.  What matches do depends on what they like, but they each benefit from learning about each other, discovering new interests and skills, and forming a true friendship together.

Each match is supported by a trained and compassionate "Match Support Specialist" who assists in breaking the ice between new volunteers and families, helping with communication and activity ideas throughout the match, and is always around to help volunteers and families with any concerns or needs they may have.

The One-to-One attention provided by this type of relationship is of enormous value to all children, families and adult volunteers who participate in our program.  We encourage all kind people with some time to dedicate to a child, to give this program a try!

While You Wait Saturdays
We have a large number of children who are in search of a Big Brothers or Big Sister, and although there are always some selfless and fantastic volunteers coming through our doors, the kids tend to have to wait a while before a suitable Big is found. We definitely do not want the children and families to lose touch with us while they wait, and we like to be sure that we know the child as well as we can before deciding on a compatible Big.

So....we offer to all of our waiting children a little program called "While You Wait Saturdays".
It happens on guess what? SATURDAY! and it is a great opportunity for Littles to get to know program staff, to interact and befriend other children on our wait list, and to just have fun. The program runs almost every Saturday during the college semesters, and features a number of fun sports activities, arts and crafts, outside groups coming to entertain and educate, field trips and more.

Our two wonderful Big Brothers Big Sister Clubs, at both Cornell University and Ithaca College, donate their time on these Saturdays to come down hang out with the kids for these programs. We encourage all families on our waitlist to come down and experience at least one While You Wait Saturday, and even provide transportation for those children who can't make it on their own, and grab themselves a seat in the van!  You never know what fun surprise awaits you on Saturday at the IYB!
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How can I become a volunteer with BBBS?Become a Big Brother or Big Sister
Volunteering is fun!  Being a "Big Brother" or "Big Sister" is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things you will ever do. It's simple, too. You and your "Little" can share the kinds of activities you already like to do, such as:
  • Shooting hoops
  • Playing a board game
  • Going on a hike
  • Enjoying a pizza
  • Learning to cook new meals
Once you've decided you're ready to have fun & make a new friend, contact us.  We'll answer all of your questions, give you all the details, and get you on your way to starting a meaningful and fun friendship with a young person! 

Why do we need Big Brothers?
More than 70% of our children are waiting for a Big are boys, but only three out of every 10 inquiries to volunteer come from men.  Research shows that having the positive influence of a Big Brother makes a real difference in the life of a boy.  So join the millions of volunteers that give a young person someone to look up to and learn why so many are now saying, “I get back so much more than I give.”

Become a Member of Our Advisory Board
Feel that you would like to donate some of your skills, talents and time, but not sure that being a Big is for you? Another option is to consider joining our advisory board.  The volunteer members of our advisory board fill an extremely important role in the agency, and it is a great group to be a part of! Board members attend monthly meetings and each participate in one of our three sub-committees which focus on volunteer recruitment, fundraising, or Program & policy development. We are always looking for more people to join our group of committed volunteers.  If you feel this is the right opportunity for you, please contact us.

College Student? Join CU or IC Bigs!
If you are a college student, and you are not sure if your schedule will allow you to devote yourself properly to your own Little, consider joining either Ithaca College or Cornell University Bigs Clubs! These clubs play a vital role in our organization by helping to support the children who are on our waitlist, recruit new Big Brothers and Big Sisters, help us with fundraisers, and more! The clubs can easily be found at your college or university, and you can commit the level of time you are comfortable with, wihtout overdoing it. These clubs need your support.  Consider volunteering, and becoming a part of what they do for Ithaca!

    Ithaca College:  
    Cornell University:

Volunteer for a One-time Fundraiser or Event!
Not much time on your hands? That's okay!  BBBS has a number of events and fundraisers that you can volunteer to be a part of! These events can connect you to our organization in a way that fits your schedule, but allows you to play an important role in our team. Contact us anytime to hear about how you could volunteer for:  Bowl for Kids' Sake, Roll for Kids' Sake,  Our Summer Raffle, and more! No matter how much time you can give, any gift is always appreciated!
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How can I find a Big Brother or Sister for my son or daughter and what can I expect?Enrollment
We are here to serve the children and families of Ithaca. We only have two eligibility requirements: You must live in the City of Ithaca and your child must be between the ages of 6 -14. Please contact us at The Ithaca Youth Bureau to enroll your child. 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 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 from 18 All volunteers have committed to spend about 2 hours a week for at least 1 full year with your child.

What does BBBS do to provide safe and trustworthy Bigs?
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.
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