The School Program pairs a child with a volunteer Big Brother or Sister. Big and Little Brothers and Sisters get together about once a week throughout the academic year. They catch up over lunch and recess on the campus of the Little Brother or Sister’s participating elementary or middle school. There, they enjoy conversation, board games, arts and crafts, basketball.
Currently, the agency operates School Programs in Newton, Needham and Waltham.
For more, or to learn whether your child’s school participates, see these FAQs or contact our Programs team.
School Program FAQs
No. No tutoring, no homework help. The goal of the program is to provide some deviation from the typical school day, a chance to unwind and recharge over lunch, board games, arts and crafts. That said, many little Brothers and Sisters do realize improved academic performance. We like to think it has something to do with the increased self-confidence and motivation that comes with having a mentor!
No. Big and Little Brothers and Sisters get together during the Little Brother or Sister’s lunch/recess. It usually amounts to a 45-minute visit.
Always on the campus of the Little Brother or Sister’s school. Where precisely depends on the school. For some it’s the library, others a classroom, art room, gym. We stress that the space should be as quiet and private as possible during the Big and Little Brother or Sister’s meeting time to preserve the spirit of a one-to-one match.
Generally not. Occasionally, a parent – in concert with the JBBBS social worker – will approve limited contact (think: letters, e-mails) over summer break.
No. Sometimes, in fact, parents and guardians elect to involve their child in the School Program precisely because their child could use extra support and attention during the school day. (Think: The child is socially-isolated. The child is bullied. The child bullies. Maybe (s)he’s struggling academically.) That consistent, quality time with a caring Big Brother or Sister is reassuring.
He or she may still be eligible for a Big Brother or Sister through our Community Program.
If a child graduates (or otherwise transfers to a school where JBBBS doesn’t operate a School Program), and if the child/family and volunteer wish to remain matched, they may continue to meet under the auspices of our Community Program. Otherwise, the match ends.
That’s certainly the hope – and many matches continue beyond one academic year. Provided both the child/family and volunteer are eager (and available) to continue the match, Big and Little Brothers and Sisters are encouraged to continue meeting from one academic year to the next.