1. What is Big Futures (BF)?
Big Futures is a natural progression from the Community Based Program of BBBS-NEI that provides enhanced support and training to eligible matches that are focused on the students’ graduation from high school and progression into independent and productive citizens. Youth may enter the program beginning in 8th grade. BF matches will participate in a variety of activities and will be guided through the pursuit of their chosen postsecondary path: college, career or military.
2. How is BF different from community-based?
A BF Match encompasses everything a Community-Based Match does while adding additional resources for both the Mentor and Youth. Being involved with BF means 1) the Mentor will be trained and coached in future focused topics based upon established goals; and 2) the Mentor and Youth will be expected to participate in programs and activities designed to help the Youth successfully finish high school and transition successfully into his/her chosen path.
3. Which matches are eligible for transfer to BF?
All Matches will be evaluated for the BF program. Prior to transfer, a Match must 1) have established a strong relationship indicated by both Mentor and Youth, and 2) be considered to have a strong relationship by its Match Support Specialist (MSS). Additionally, Youth must be in at least 8th grade. Ideally, Mentors will have demonstrated strong engagement in the Match. However, the BF program will consider Youth who are strongly recommended for the program, even if the MSS has concerns about the Mentor being able to meet the BF expectations.
4. Do the Mentor or Youth need to do anything to transfer from Community-Based to BF?
Yes. Our own best practices have shown us that in order to be successful, BF Match Participants should enter the program through an intentional process that ensures they understand what the BF program is, how it can further the Youth’s goals and what is expected of them. For this reason, there are a few steps that they must take in order to transition from Community-Based Program to BF. Mentors are required to sign a BF Match Agreement. Youth (with their families) are expected to complete the steps outlined in the “Transfer Checklist”.
5. What role do Match Support Specialists play in transitioning youth to BF?
Match Support Specialists play a critical role in connecting Youth with the opportunity to have college career readiness offered through BF. The most essential role the MSS plays is to leverage the relationship he/she has with the Matches in order to encourage and inspire matches to want to participate in BF. The current MSS will be primarily responsible for transitioning the bond they have created to the new caseworker in the BF program. In addition, Match Support Specialists are asked to complete the “BF Recommendation Form."