Thank you for your interest in enrolling your child to be a Little Brother or Little Sister in our Laurel School-Based Mentoring Program.
Who we are:
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is a national organization that provides professionally supported mentoring relationships to children facing adversity. Kids who have mentors are less likely to drop out of school, experiment with alcohol and drugs, and get into fights. At Big Brothers Big Sisters, our mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. We partner with parents/guardians, volunteers and others in the community and hold ourselves accountable for each child in our program, achieving: higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships, avoidance of risky behaviors, and educational success.
What we do:
Students at your child’s school have the opportunity to receive a high school mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yellowstone County. The program pairs elementary and middle school students (“Littles”) with a junior or senior from Laurel High School (“Bigs”). Littles must be in 1st-7th grade at the time of enrollment, and either be recommended by their teachers/counselors to receive a Big, or the parent/guardian may choose to enroll their own child. A parent/guardian choosing to enroll their child should list the reasons they could benefit from having a Big in their child’s application. The high school students are trained by Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) staff. A BBBS staff member will be monitoring the relationship throughout the school year by checking in regularly with each participant. The goal is to foster a positive mentoring relationship by allowing the students to get to know each other, read together, work on class assignments, interact at recess, etc. The Big is there to help your child with whatever they need: from math homework, to building positive peer relationships, to concentrating in class. Visits happen once a week for about an hour. All match meetings take place during the school day, are limited to school grounds, and under teacher supervision. Bigs and Littles are not allowed to communicate outside of school activities. Bigs are taught to maintain appropriate boundaries and are not allowed to try to convert their Littles to their own political or religious views.
Big Brothers are paired with Little Brothers of all ages. Big Sisters are paired with Little Sisters of all ages and with Little Brothers up through 5th grade when there aren’t enough Big Brothers to meet the enrollment demand of Little Brothers.
To ensure the safety of all participants, we check in at least monthly with both Bigs and Littles. Our check-ins with Bigs happen on Wednesdays every other week in class, and check-ins with Littles happen at their schools. We talk to each child for 10-15 minutes every other month to ask how things are going with their matches, how they’re doing at school, and other questions to make sure they are safe in all aspects of their lives. Child safety is our number one priority.
What we ask of you: Our only expectation for your involvement as a parent/guardian is that you let us know right away if you have any concerns about the relationship and that you provide feedback regarding your child’s relationship with their mentor and/or your child’s development as requested. Our primary contact will be with the school staff, your child, and their Big Brother/Sister.
If you feel that your child may benefit from this opportunity, please complete the online application to the best of your ability. Upon receiving your completed application, a BBBS staff member will meet with your child for 15-20 minutes during the school day for a brief interview. The purpose of this interview is so that we can get a better understanding of your child’s personality, interests, and needs. This all helps us in the matching process. After this interview, you child will be placed on our “Ready to be Matched” list. Once we have a Big that we think is a good match for your child, they will begin meeting. You will receive notification within two weeks of your child being matched. Please note that we have a limited number of spots available for this program, and submitting an application does NOT guarantee that your child will be accepted into the program or matched. If we are unable to match your child for the school year for any reason, you will be notified. Your child’s match will automatically end at the end of the school year. If a Big is going to remain a Big for the following school year, we will contact you about the possibility of their match staying open through the summer, and into the next school year. If the match closes before the end of the school year, we will notify our contact at your child’s school. A new parent permission form will be required for each school year your child is a part of our program and can be completed in the spring online.
Call us at (406) 248-2229 with any questions.
If we are unable to reach you, who is someone we could call who always knows how to reach you?
By signing below, I give permission:
I understand that the program is not obligated to match my child with a volunteer and that as part of the enrollment process I will be asked to provide additional information through an in-person interview. I understand that the information I provide in the enrollment process will be kept confidential, unless disclosure is required by law and with exceptions noted. I understand that incidents of child abuse or neglect, past or present, must be reported to proper authorities. I understand that certain relevant information about my child will be discussed with the volunteer who is a prospective match (i.e. demographic information, information relevant to volunteer preferences, and information relevant to child-safety and well-being).
I certify that all of the information on this form is true and correct and that all income is reported. I understand this information is being given for the receipt of federal funds, that the information on this application may be verified, and that deliberate misrepresentation of the information may subject me to prosecution under applicable state and federal laws. I understand this information will not affect my qualification for the program.
I do hereby release the organization and its employees, agents, members, volunteers and all other persons on its behalf from any and all liability for any damage or injury which such child might sustain while participating in said program and activities, including but not limited to any liability to any right of action that may occur to such child directly, or to me as his/her guardian. I understand that this information may be shared with the school or with partnership agencies when applicable.
If my child is matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister I agree to support my child’s match by reviewing the program and safety information given to me by Big Brothers Big Sisters, communicating with Big Brothers Big Sisters staff as outlined in expectations (which includes communication at least once a month in the first year of the match), and immediately reporting any concerns I might have to Big Brothers Big Sisters staff.
MODEL RELEASE FOR YOUTH UNDER 18 YEARS OLD
I hereby give Big Brothers Big Sisters, their assigns, licensees and legal representatives the irrevocable right to use my child’s name, picture, photograph, portrait, visual likeness, or voice in all forms and media in all manners, including photo, film, audio and video representations, as well as, BBBS of Yellowstone County Facebook page and monthly newsletter, for non-profit, public purposes, and I hereby waive any right to inspect or approve the finished product that may be created in connection therewith. I have read this release, and am fully familiar with its contents.
If you APPROVE, sign below:
I am the parent/legal guardian of the individual named above, I have read this release and approve of its terms.
Participant Release Form
Liability Release: I hereby release, indemnify and hold harmless Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yellowstone County from any and all liability in connection with injury (including any injury caused by negligence) in conjunction with participating in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I, likewise, hold harmless from liability any person transporting my child to or from any Big Brothers Big Sisters activity. I am also certain that my child is in good health and able to participate in the program activities. I certify that I am over 18 years of age and am competent to contract my name insofar as the above is concerned. I have read the foregoing release, authorization and agreement, before affixing my signature below and warrant that I fully understand the contents thereof.
In order for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yellowstone County to provide responsible, professional service to clients, it is necessary for volunteers, clients and parents or guardians of clients to divulge extensive personal information about themselves and their families. The agency respects the confidentiality of client and volunteer records. Such personal information about clients and volunteers shall be shared only among the agency professional staff, with the exception of the specific situations described below.
Limits on Confidentiality
In addition, if the alleged offender is a Big Brother or Big Sister, the board president, legal counsel, BBBSA, and the agency’s insurance carrier will be notified. The match will be suspended immediately.
6. Should the agency professional staff receive information that a client or volunteer may be dangerous to self or others, the Executive Director may authorize any Agency worker to take steps necessary to protect threatened individuals, including but not limited to making a medical referral or a report to law enforcement authorities. Clients and volunteers shall consent to this provision.
7. The Board of Directors shall have access to volunteer or client records only upon authorization by motion of the Board. Such motion shall state who shall be authorized to review records, the specific purpose for such review and the period of time authorized for such review. Any member of the Board granted such authorization shall be bound by this policy on confidentiality. A violation of this policy shall constitute good cause for removal from the Board.
Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted as preventing the Executive Director from presenting a monthly program report to the Board of Directors. The program report may identify volunteers and children by name only throughout the match process from inquiry to closure. The Executive Director may summarize other information about the program not otherwise subject to the policy on confidentiality.
8. Volunteer and client information shall be provided to the agency’s legal counsel in the event of litigation or potential litigation involving the agency. Information provided to counsel shall be considered privileged pursuant to Section 26-1-803, MCA (1991).
9. At the time a child or volunteer is considered as a match candidate, information may be shared between the prospective match parties. However, the identity of the prospective match mate shall not be revealed until the parent and volunteer agrees to meet.
Each match party shall have the right to refuse the proposed match based on the anonymous information provided. The information to be shared may include:
All case files and case notes, both active and closed, shall be kept in locking file cabinets. No files may be removed from the premises without approval of the Executive Director. Closed files will be retained by the Agency for a minimum of seven (7) years, or until the child reaches the age of twenty one (21), whichever comes first, after which time basic demographic information will be saved, and the remained of the record may be destroyed.
Violations of confidentiality by agency personnel may result in disciplinary actions, including warnings, suspensions, or termination. Violations of confidentiality by volunteers and parents will result in warnings and if necessary, match closure.
I understand the agency policy with respect to confidentiality of client and volunteer records.
I agree to program participation under the conditions it sets forth.