big futures for matches

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay is here to support Littles after high school graduation. The Big Futures mentoring program serves Littles from high school graduation up to age 26 with additional support and guidance, helping them make educational and career decisions. Our goal is that Big Futures Littles are enrolled, employed, or enlisted after high school graduation so they may earn a living wage by age 26 or earlier.

Who can Join?

Community-Based, Site-Based, or School-to-Work matches where the Little has graduated high school, will graduate high school in Spring of the current school year, or is 18 years of age or older and no longer in school.

How will matches benefit from this program?

This program continues to provide mentoring support to Bigs serving young adults. Additionally, we offer training and services for matches helping Littles set and stay on an empowering path for life after high school, including:

  • Career planning
  • Enrolling in post-secondary education
  • Assistance with financial aid
  • Developing workplace skills
  • Career development
  • Applying for scholarships
  • Writing resumes
  • Applying for and interviewing for jobs

APPLICATION PROCESS

1

REQUEST PACKET

Request a Big Futures packet from your Match Support Specialist or School-to-Work Coordinator. You can complete the applications linked below in lieu of getting an emailed Big Futures packet.
2

INFO SESSION

Attend an optional Big Futures information session online
3

APPLY

Complete the applications below. Paper applications available upon request.
4

STRATEGIZE

Schedule a strategy session with a Big Futures Coordinator to set goals and get started!

GET STARTED

APPLICATIONS FOR MENTEES

Complete the Mentee Application, Mentee Expectations, and the bottom half of the Match Agreement.
Mentee Application
Mentee Expectations
Match Agreement

APPLICATIONS FOR MENTORS

Complete the Mentor Expectations and the top half of the Match Agreement
Mentor Expectations
Match Agreement

FAQs

What is Big Futures?

This program serves Littles up to age 26 and their Bigs with additional support and guidance in helping Littles make educational and career decisions. Our goal is that Big Futures Littles are enrolled, employed, or enlisted after high school graduation so they may earn a living wage by age 26.

What services are a part of this program?

We defend potential in a few practical ways:

  • Goal setting and accountability for Littles from Big Futures Staff
  • Directing matches to resources that align with set goals (scholarships, internships, jobs, etc.)
  • Workshops and special events for matches (Workshops are also open to matches with 11th and 12th grade Littles as well.)
  • Developing Community Relationships that result in unique education and career opportunities for Mentees.

Who can apply?

CURRENT Community-Based, Site-Based, or School-to-Work matches where the Little has:

  • graduated high school,
  • will graduate high school in Spring of the current school year (even if graduating early), or
  • is 18 years of age or older and has discontinued high school.

What if I don’t want to stay matched with my Little/Big after graduation, but I would still like services from the Big Futures Program?

We would prefer that Littles receiving services remain in their match. However, if a Big no longer wishes to remain matched after a Little graduates from high school but that Little would like to receive Big Future Services, we will evaluate that on a case-by-case basis. Please talk with your Match Support Specialist for more information.

What is the enrollment process? Will we automatically transfer to Big Futures?

Matches need to choose if they would like to be in Big Futures. Enrollment happens in a Few steps:

  1. Receive an enrollment packet either from your Match Support Specialist, School-to-Work Coordinator, or Big Futures Staff. You can email dallasr@bbbstampabay.org to request an enrollment packet electronically.
  2. When scheduled, Matches may virtually attend a live Big Futures Info session.
    1. PLEASE NOTE: This meeting is optional, and matches do not need to attend an info session to enroll in Big Futures.
  3. Complete enrollment packet and return to Big Future Staff. Electronic and hard copy packets available.
    1. Mentees: Complete the Mentee Application, Mentee Expectations, and your portion of the Match Agreement
    2. Mentors: Complete the Mentor Expectations and your portion of the match agreement
    3. Mail completed hard copies to BBBS Tampa Bay ATTN Dallas Ruffin, 4630 Woodland Corporate Blvd Ste 160, Tampa, FL 33614. You may also scan and email physical copies to dallasr@bbbstampabay.org, or complete the forms via the links emailed.
  4. Once the application and Big Futures Match agreement are received from Big and Little, Little is scheduled for an in-person/virtual strategy session with Big Futures Staff where goals are set for your next chapter with BBBS!

So, what will match support look like?

After all paperwork is received and Little meets with Big Futures Staff, your match will be transferred into Big Futures! Your Big Futures Specialist will be your new main point of contact with BBBS!

  • Your match “check-ins” with BBBS will remain quarterly as they have been; however, there are other engagement requirements.
  • Your check-ins with your Big Future Specialist can be either in person, on the phone, or virtual.
  • As Littles are legal adults, parents are not required for Match support but are encouraged to continue to participate in supporting their (adult) child in the program.

What about Big/Little Contact. What’s the requirement?

There is no set hourly requirement, but we would like to see matches in contact with each other at least monthly (via any means) and attending at least one workshop per semester. Workshops happen about every other month and are currently held virtually.

Are there safety guidelines? What about overnights?

Yes, there are safety guidelines. While overnight travel is allowed, Match should inform your Big Futures Specialist about plans beforehand. Safety guidelines include matches not living together, and Bigs not paying for the Littles’ bills, housing costs, or tuition. BBBSTB reserves the right to close any match that it deems is operating outside of BBBSTB’s general expectations of a match or our standards of practice.

Can a Big going into Big Futures be able to mentor a new Little while still “sticking” with their current Little in this program?

Yes, a Big can have 2 Littles but would need to be re-assessed for a new match and the new match would have a different Match Support Specialist.

Do Littles have to be in the program until they are 26?

No. There will be an annual review/evaluation of goals and needs. You as a match and your Big Futures Specialist will decide if you would remain enrolled each year.

I have a friend/colleague that works at a college/trade school/company that may want to get involved with Big Futures and help our Littles. What do I share with them?

Please introduce us! Email them and copy Dallas Ruffin, dallasr@bbbstampabay.org, or pass along my number, 813-415-7039, and I am happy to set up a time to see them and discuss. We have some information designed specifically for potential partners, so send them our way!

What if I think of more questions?

Contact Dallas Ruffin, Big Futures Supervisor, at 813-415-7039 or dallasr@bbbstampabay.org