Introduction to Volunteering
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria and Area positively affects our community by providing mentoring programs for children and youth.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering as a mentor. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria and Area is a non-profit community agency that relies on the support of dedicated and committed volunteers like you.
This guide will help you learn about our programs and volunteer options. We hope it answers most of your questions. However, we are always happy to chat in person or over the phone so please contact our Enrolment Coordinator at 250-475-1117, ext. 40 at any time. You can also visit our website at bbbsvictoria.com to learn more about us, our fundraising activities and special events.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, new mentoring matches are still being made. However, some of the volunteer screening steps may take longer to complete or need alternate processes. For example, only some local police detachments are open to the public, making the criminal record check process more difficult for some volunteers. Also, some of our match introduction and/or support processes that would typically take place in-person now occur using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or are completed over the telephone, etc.
All of our mentors are required to complete COVID-19 training. This outlines the extra precautions put in place for mentors and children to continue working together as the COVID-19 situation changes over the coming months. It will also let mentors know what to expect and how to support their mentee during those times when it’s not possible to meet face-to-face.
We do our best to process all applications in a timely manner. However, due to limited staff and an unpredictable number of applicants at any given time, it can take up to 12 weeks to process your application. This timeline depends on a number of factors including the return of your Criminal Record Check and responses from referees. Once your application is approved, the matching process can also take several weeks depending upon the program you have selected. Please keep this in mind when considering your program choice.
You are encouraged to call (250) 475-1117, ext.40 to check on the status of your application or discuss any question(s) you might have. Thank you again and we look forward to helping you through this exciting time!
Steps to becoming a mentor:
You can complete these steps in any order – please don’t wait to finish one step before starting the next.
|1. Submit your application form
After we have received your application form, we try to contact your references by email. This allows them to reply at their own convenience and provide in-depth, thoughtful answers. If they do not respond within a reasonable time, we follow up with a phone call. Please let your referees know that you are listing them prior to submitting your application.
|2. Complete your Pre-match Training
Watch: Strong from the Start Mentor Training Video
Register at EventBrite for your Victoria-based training (Volunteering in Victoria, COVID-19 protocols, Developmental Relationships)
Training must be completed before you can become a mentor. In-person or one-on-one training sessions may also be possible if required and COVID-19 safety guidelines permit.
|3. Request a Criminal Record/Vulnerable Sector Check
It can take many weeks for your Criminal Record/Vulnerable Sector Check to be completed, so please don’t wait to submit your request.
For volunteers aged 19 and over living in municipalities served by local police:
· We provide you with a letter to take into your local police station requesting that a Criminal Record/Vulnerable Sector Check be completed at no cost to you. You must show them two pieces of government issued ID – one of which must include a photograph.
· Please call the police after a couple of weeks to see if it is ready – only you can pick it up.
· We need the original record check form so please mail it or drop it off to us.
For volunteers aged 14 to 18 and adults living in municipalities served by the RCMP:
· We provide you with Form CRR026, which you complete and return to us. It gives consent for the BC Ministry of Public Safety to complete a Criminal Record/Vulnerable Sector Check on you, at no cost to you. You must show us two pieces of government issued ID – one of which must include a photograph.
· We submit the form to the BC Ministry of Public Safety and the results are sent back to us.
|4. Participate in a one-on-one Interview
Interviews provide in-depth background information about you and allow you to discuss questions, concerns or expectations in a one-on-one environment. We will schedule your interview once we have heard back from two of your references. Interviews are held online through Zoom or Microsoft Teams, at the BBBS office or at a partner school (if volunteer is a teen mentor). Community mentors who may be driving with a mentee in their vehicle are asked to show agency staff their driver’s license and proof of insurance.
Interviews will Teen Mentors/Big Buddies take approximately 45 minutes. Interviews with Adult Mentors take approximately 90 minutes.
|5. Complete additional training (as required)
Go Girls! mentors must also complete facilitator training that takes several hours. Mentors are also invited to attend additional workshops on an on-going basis.
|6. Receive your notice of screening results
Once your application screening is complete, your file is reviewed by our Enrolment Coordinator. Our decision regarding your acceptance as a volunteer will be e-mailed to you.
|7. Start your match
BBBS staff determine which child on our waitlist is most likely to have a successful mentoring relationship with you. You will be given information about that child and a time will be set for you to meet them. Community-based mentors also meet with the child’s parent/guardian before being introduced to the child. Everyone signs a match agreement contract and the match begins.