We match a Female with a Little Brother taking care to ensure they have similar interests. Matches spend one-to-one time together doing things that friends do… like talking, playing ball in the park, watching a movie or just hanging out. You don’t have to change your life to become a Female Mentor… having a Little Brother just means you have someone else to share your life with.
The Cross Gender Match Program matches adult female volunteers (18 and over) with boys aged six to sixteen who have limited-to-no contact with their fathers. Female Mentors spend a minimum of 2 outings per month with their Little Brothers doing a wide range of friendship-based activities together. They provide encouragement, guidance, and support. This is a minimum commitment of one year.
This program has been extremely successful with the young boys between 6-10 years of age.
Who can volunteer?
You can! A typical volunteer is a caring responsible woman who is over the age of 18. Our volunteers come from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds and from all walks of life. There are no special skills required – only a willingness to spend some time with a young person developing a meaningfull friendship.
What is the basic commitment of a Female Mentor?
Female Mentors are asked to spend a minimum of 2 outings per month with their Little Brother. They are also asked to keep regular phone contact with their special new friend. They commit to their match for a minimum of one year.
Is there an age limit for Female Mentors?
The minimum age is 18. There is no maximum age limit, as long as the volunteer is in good health and maintains an active lifestyle.
How long do the friendships usually last?
This is a fairly new program. Our current matches have reached one to two years and still going strong.
Will an applicant be matched to a child from any part of the city?
To limit travel time, we try to match a Female Mentor to a Little Brother who lives close by. But we also want to match volunteers with boys who have similar interests and personalities. Sometimes the most compatible Little Brother will live in a neighbouring community and a small amount of travel may be necessary. Please note that the volunteer choses if she wishes to be matched with a child in which there would be travelling time.
Do you need to own a car?
No, some of our Female Mentors rely on public transit. In this case, we’ll try to match the volunteer to a child on an accessible transit route.
How old are the children?
Little Brothers must be between the ages of six and sixteen when they first get involved, although friendships can continue under the Big Brothers Program until the boy reaches the age of 17.
What are the children’s backgrounds?
Most of the boys have limited-to-no contact with their fathers and live in a single-mother home where there is no consistent male influence. A typical Little Brother is an average kid who would enjoy and benefit from spending quality time with an adult male who shares his interests.
Like our volunteers, our Little Brothers come from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds. This program is friendship-based and is not designed as a form of intervention for serious individual or family problems.
Are Female Mentors expected to help with family issues?
Their primary responsibility is to spend time with his Little Brother, and is discouraged from getting involved in family dynamics. Our support and guidance ensures that clear boundaries are maintained.
Is there a cost involved in being a Female Mentor?
There are no membership fees. We encourage the volunteer to choose activities that are no-cost or low cost, and fall within the mother’s limited budget. We help out whenever possible by providing free tickets to special events.
What do the kids like to do?
While interests vary, most kids like to participate in outdoor activities, like swimming, mountain biking, and roller blading. They also enjoy movies, games, and going to the park. A large portion of our Little Brothers enjoy team sports while others prefer art, working on building models, Lego and wood working.
The focus of the program is to spend quality time together. It’s not always necessary to do exciting activities or to spend money. There are numerous activities to enjoy together.
Does the agency stay involved once the match is made?
Yes. We provide on-going support and monitoring. Our Caseworker is available to deal with any questions or concerns that come up. Regular phone contact with all parties is an expectation of the program as are regularly scheduled meetings to discuss the progress of the match.
We also provide agency sponsored activities so that the Big and Little Brother can meet other matches in our programs.
You can make a difference in the life of a child!