Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Big Brothers Big Sisters of South West Durham and Northumberland

Big Brothers Big Sisters of South West Durham and Northumberland currently has a specific need for male-identifying volunteers.

Start Your Volunteer Journey

Step 1: understanding your options

Please review our various mentoring programs to determine which program(s) you are most interested in participating in.

Step 2: understanding the process

The Mentor Application Process includes the steps below.

Application Process

To ensure safety and the best match possible, the entire process typically takes 2-3 months to complete.

• Step 1. Inquiry

Complete an inquiry online at:

• Step 2. Prescreen

Have a 30 min phone prescreen Interview

• Step 3 Application

Fill out an application form along with other consents and a vulnerable sector check (authorization letter will be provided) Providing 3–4 personal references (see the Mentor Application for details)

• Step 4 Interview

Completing a live interview (approximately 1-1.5 hours) with a member of our team, that will help us to get to know you better and will assess how we can best utilize your strengths and skills in our mentoring programs

• Step 5 Group Training

This is a training session, where you will learn about different programs, child safety protocols and effective mentorship

• Step 6 – Notification of acceptance/non-acceptance as a volunteer

After completion of interview and trainings and satisfactory reference and clear vulnerable sector check your file will be reviewed by staff upon a successful review you will receive an acceptance letter

• Step 7 Match

If accepted, our caseworkers will find the best match for you based on location, shared interests, etc. If everyone agrees, your match will officially begin!

Still have questions? Check out our frequently asked questions below.


What age do I need to be to volunteer?

We welcome applications from adults 18+


What’s the time commitment for each program?

Time commitments vary by program:

Big Brothers Big Sisters community-based program – once a week (2-4 hours) for at least 1 year.

In-School Mentoring program – once a week (1 hour) for 1 academic year (or the remainder of the academic year). Match meetings are weekdays during school hours, typically between 10am to 3pm.

Group mentoring program – once a week (1.5 hours) for 8-10 weeks. Sessions are held weekdays, typically between 3:30pm- 5pm. Summer sessions/camps are available.


Do I need any special skills or experience to be a Mentor?

Our volunteers represent a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, abilities, and identities, just like the families and youth that we serve. The most important qualities we look for in volunteers are reliability, consistency, dedication, and being respectful of others. No specific prerequisite skills or experience is required.

Please note: a criminal reference check including vulnerable sector check will be required before you can be approved to become a mentor.


How long do I need to have known my references for?

The requirements vary for each type of reference. Here is a summary of how long your references need to have known you:

  • Employment: 2 years
  • Personal Reference: 2 years
  • Significant Other: 1 year (can still be requested if relationship less than 1 year)
  • Vulnerable Sector Work or Volunteer Experience: 1 year (can still be requested if relationship less than 1 year)


Can I change programs after I apply?

Our volunteer application process is the same for all of our mentoring programs, so if you apply for the program you are most interested in and decide a different program is a better fit during the process, you are able to switch to that program.


Who Are The Mentees?

Mentees in our programs are young people between 6 and 16 years old with unique interests and strengths. They reflect the incredible diversity of the regions we serve.


How Long Will I Wait To Be Introduced To My Mentee Or Mentees?

Our matching process is not first come first served. Therefore, it can be difficult to provide a definitive timeline. But there is one thing you can do to help speed up the process of finding the most suitable match – Help us get to know you! Actively engage in our training sessions, and reach out to your Mentoring Coordinator to keep them informed on changes in your life.

If I’m Matched In A One-To-One Community-Based Mentoring Program, How Is My Mentee Selected For Me?

Matches between Mentees and Mentors are based on a variety of variables; including similar interests, personality types, shared identity, lived experience, and location. We want to establish the strongest possible mentoring relationships and that includes making sure that you, as a volunteer Mentor, feel motivated and valued as well.


What Will I Do With My Mentee In A One-To-One Community-Based Mentoring Program?

Mentors and Mentees meet weekly for a minimum of one year. During this time, matches participate in a variety of activities. To reduce the financial barrier on both the family and the volunteer Mentor, BBSWD& NH encourages matches to find low to no cost activities. Some of the most common match activities include going for walks, doing arts and crafts, watching movies, baking, and playing sports.


What can I expect from the children and youth enrolled in these programs?

All children and youth in our programs come from different walks of life. Some children come from a single-parent household or live with a guardian like their grandparent or a foster parent, some children live with both parents and have a sibling who lives with a disability, and some children have different situations altogether. Overall, there’s no “one size fits all” approach – but they all share one commonality, there is a need for connection and they would benefit greatly from an additional adult role model in their life.


What Is The Agency’s Role?

BBBSSWD Staff are with you from the very beginning and will provide ongoing support to ensure you are fully equipped to take on the important role of Mentor.

Our Mentoring Coordinators conduct regular match monitoring calls with all Mentors, Mentees, and families, and provide practical strategies to make sure Mentees and Mentors are getting the most out of their experience with us.

Ready to Volunteer?

If you’re ready to volunteer, click the button below to fill out the volunteer application form and start your volunteer journey with us.