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Bellefaire JCB matches caring adult volunteers with children and adolescents through two programs: Jewish Big Brother Big Sister Association and our Mentoring Program for Foster Youth. Both of these one-on-one mentoring programs help youth become self-sufficient, healthy and productive individuals.

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Association

In our own lives each one of us has been influenced by someone other than our parents. Think back to your own childhood. Who was that special person who brought a little magic to your life? Big Brothers and Sisters are mentoring adults and friends who not only help create wonderful memories for children, but help them live bigger lives. Studies show that children with mentors become more self sufficient and confident, do better in school and are more likely to avoid illegal behaviors.  

Since 1919, the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Association (JBBBSA), a charter member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, has been providing children with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change lives for the better, forever.

We match caring adult volunteers (Bigs) with Jewish children (Littles) ages 6 to 18 based on similar interests and personalities. Our Littles come from a diverse variety of backgrounds and needs. These one-on-one mentoring matches help children and teens become self-sufficient, healthy and productive individuals by pairing them with a positive adult role model.

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Mission

To aid in the development of confident, responsible and caring individuals by providing high-quality, professionally supported mentoring services and programs to Jewish children and their families.

The Magic of Mentoring

As a program of Bellefaire JCB, JBBBSA benefits from the vast prevention and education services that the agency provides through its licensed counselors and social workers. Each match is supported by a professional therapist who helps the pair develop their relationship and reap many life-learning and long-time benefits.

Big Benefits for Littles

  • Improve study habits
  • Learn new skills
  • Enhance social and communication skills
  • Experience something new
  • Build lasting friendships
  • Develop self-confidence
  • Realize their potential 

Just-As-Big Benefits for Bigs

  • Supporting youth facing adversity as a role model and friend
  • Shaping someone’s life and having fun at the same time
  • Meeting other professionals
  • Sharing new experiences
  • Making a difference in your community

Watch Magic of Mentoring Video Now

When I was 22 a friend convinced me to become a Big Sister with Bellefaire JCB. Pow! I never expected that my Little would become one of my strongest sources of energy. The past four years have been such a meaningful experience for both of us. Hannah helps me see the world clearly and I help support her dreams.

Become A Little

There are many reasons why a child would benefit from having a Big Sister or Brother. Maybe you have a new baby or another child at home with special needs that is preoccupying your time. You might be a single parent looking for a role model for your child. Or maybe your child has emotional, behavioral or a learning challenges and would benefit from having an adult mentor help him or her learn to process these differences or talk about his or her daily experiences. No matter what the situation, a Big is a valuable role model who can support your parenting role by helping with homework, offering solutions to a problem, or just be there to listen.

How the Program Works

  • Jewish children ages of 6 to 18 are eligible to be matched with a Big in our program.
  • Your child and their Big will spend time together about twice a month. Activities can vary and include walks in the park, biking, bowling, playing games, cooking, scrapbooking, grabbing a bite to eat or helping with a school project.
  • As a parent, your time commitment includes in-person meetings with the case manager and your child for the initial inquiry process, during the match meeting when your child’s Big is introduced, as well as two meetings the first year and the annual meeting.
  • We require a minimum one-year commitment; however, most matches last for several years – with many relationships becoming life-long friendships.
  • There is no cost to you.

Let's Get Started

To start the process, fill out an online application (which takes about 10 minutes, and must be completed in one sitting) or download, start, and save a fillable PDF application on your own time! You can email, mail, or fax the application to us. Our email, mailing address, and fax number are located on the last page of the PDF. A case manager will then call to set up a time to meet with you and your child. This will be an informal interview for us to get to know you and your needs, and for you and your child to ask questions about the program.

We match Bigs with Littles based on common interests and what we believe is best for your child. A match might be made quickly if the right Big is on the waiting list or your child may be placed on a waiting list until we find the best match. We work diligently to recruit and train Bigs all the time.

Become a Big Brother or Big Sister

You have the power to make a BIG difference with little effort – just by being you. By nature, children look up to older brothers and sisters and yearn to follow in their footsteps. Being a role model and friend not only supports a youth who is facing adversities, it brings fulfillment and satisfaction to you.

Many children in our program have unresolved issues resulting from the loss of a parent or other changes at home. Others may have withdrawn from their friends and family, exhibit depression or have been reluctant to emotionally invest in relationships. Some are immigrants faced with the challenges of acculturation and feel isolated, detached and are struggling to succeed in school. No matter what the situation, a Big is a valuable role model who helps with homework, offers solutions to a problem, or is an ear to listen. As a role model, you will help your Little learn to build relationships, develop self-confidence and generally become a happier, stronger individual.

How the Program Works

  • We always have boys and girls on our waiting list and therefore have an ongoing need for big brothers and big sisters who are 21 and older.
  • When you are matched with a little, we ask that you commit to getting together with your Little twice a month for a minimum of one year. We’re pretty confident that you will want your match to last much longer!
  • You have the option of where and how you spend your time with your Little and how much you choose to spend. One-on-one time could be spent hiking and biking, playing catch, bowling, going to a movie, walking a dog, cooking or baking, going to the zoo, listening to music, or playing board or video games.

Let’s Get Started

To start the process, fill out an online application (which takes about 10 minutes, and must be completed in one sitting) or download, start, and save fillable PDF application on your own time! You can email, mail, or fax the application to us. Our email, mailing address, and fax number are located on the PDF for your convenience. Our screening process includes background checks, motor vehicle checks and an in-person interview. During the screening process, you will be asked to have your work/school and personal references fill out a quick form online:

Work/School Reference Form

Personal Reference Form

You will be provided with a thorough training given by one of our independently licensed, Master’s level case managers. During orientation interest forms are completed, which allow us to match you with a Little that shares similar personalities and hobbies.

David's Story

Ten-year-old David had been suffering from depression since his parents’ divorce a year ago. He had withdrawn from his friends and teachers noticed a decline in school.

Mentoring Program for Foster Youth

Children and adolescents in foster care often have suffered a great deal of loss, emotional stress and disruption in their lives. These kids, more than anyone, need a stable, caring adult that they can count on  ̶  someone who will be there just for them.

Bellefaire JCB’s Mentoring Program provides high quality, one-to-one mentoring services to young people ages 10-21 in permanent custody of the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Bellefaire matches the mentors and mentees according to preferences and common interests, along with providing supervision, training and support.

The expected time commitment is just 8 hours per month for a minimum of one year, but we hope the special bond you develop with your match will last much longer. Mentors are reimbursed up to $100 per month for outings and mileage.

As a Mentor, you will:

  • Be a trusted, committed, stable role model and friend for an at-risk youth
  • Provide a strong, caring adult relationship to help support your mentee’s emotional and behavioral growth, school success, and positive relationships with peers and adults
  • Help your mentee in their transition to adulthood
  • Provide your mentee with an in-person outing or visit twice a month for approximately three hours per visit; contact them (phone, email, text) during the weeks without a face-to-face outing
  • Maintain the match for a minimum of one-year with the goal of sustaining a permanent connection with your mentee
  • Check in with an assigned Bellefaire case manager for one hour each month to discuss the match and to receive ongoing training and support
  • Commit to being patient, understanding and non-judgmental

Qualifications for Mentors

Licensure: None
Experience: Experience with children/adolescents preferred
  • Ability to perform volunteer responsibilities with a high degree of initiative, consistency and independent judgment  
  • Practical and creative problem-solving skills
  • Sensitivity in relating to persons of varying backgrounds; demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups of people with various strengths, aptitudes and abilities
  • Demonstrated communication skills and effective interpersonal skills

Requirements for Mentors

  • 21 years of age or older
  • Reliable transportation, possession of a valid driver’s license, insurance and clean driving record
  • Commit to all program requirements and needs of the youth
  • Complete all pre-match screening and training, including background and TB/ drug testing and a three-hour orientation and training session.

Click here for an application to become a Mentor for youth in foster care!

Work/School Reference Form
Personal Reference Form