Frequently Asked Questions

For Parents

What is the age range of children that you work with?
We work with children ages 6 to 16.

How can I sign up for Hearts over Hands?
You can sign up by clicking on the "Sign Up" button on the top right of our website. The form will ask you for some basic information so that we can get started with pairing you with a volunteer.

Who are your volunteers, and how do you screen them?
Our volunteers are all current university students (undergraduate and graduate) -- we verify this either via publicly available student directories, or by requesting certificates of enrollment. Additionally, our volunteers are all interviewed by members of our team, trained, and then carefully selected to be a good fit for each individual family.

Do you prioritize pairing certain families with volunteers?
Yes; we prioritize families of essential workers, single parents, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, or otherwise in especially difficult circumstances. However, we encourage everyone to sign up and we do our best to pair every single family.

Is this service available for non-English-speaking families?
Yes! We have volunteers who speak a variety of languages, and we will do our best to pair your family with a volunteer who speaks the language you are most comfortable with. However, the pairing process might take a bit longer than usual.

What do sessions generally consist of?
This is largely up to you! Our volunteers are happy to provide tutoring services, homework help, general activities and socialization, art projects, language-learning, and more. Once you meet with your volunteer, you will work together to decide how best to spend sessions.

Do you only take families from certain locations?
No, we work with families from all over and across various different time zones! As sessions are all virtual, location does not matter.

How often do sessions take place?
Sessions typically take place 1-3 times a week. This will depend your (and your volunteer's) availability and on how much support you feel your child needs. Once you meet with your volunteer, you will determine how many times a week you will be meeting, and work out a weekly schedule.

Which video-conferencing platform do you use for sessions?
We give our volunteers and families a choice between Google Hangouts, Google Meets, Skype, and Zoom for sessions. Once you are put in touch with your volunteer, you will work out which platform works best for you! 

After signing up, when can I can expect to be matched with a volunteer?
We will aim to match your family with a volunteer within one week of hearing from you. However, please keep in mind that this may take longer if your family is not on our high priority list, or if you are a non-English-speaking family.

What will sessions look like if I have multiple children?
If you have multiple children, each one of your children will be meeting individually with their Big Sib at different points in the week. We may pair your family with more than one volunteer, depending on our volunteers' availability and on your family's preferences.

For Volunteers

Who can sign up to volunteer?
If you are a student currently enrolled in university, you can apply to volunteer! However, please note that we currently only accept volunteers from universities with publicly available student directories.

What is the selection process like for volunteers?
After we receive your application, we will contact you to set up a brief interview. If we think you are a good fit for our program, we will begin searching for a family to pair you with!

What will sessions look like generally?
During sessions, you may help your child with particular subjects, tutor, work on a project together, or do general activities together! This will be largely up to you and the family.

How many hours a week will I be expected to commit?
We ask our volunteers to commit a minimum of 1-2 hours per week.

When can I expect to be matched with a family?
This will vary greatly depending on which families we currently have signed up, and what these families are looking for. As soon as we have a family that we think you'd make a great fit for, we will contact you right away!

I'm not interested in being a Big Sib, but I'd love to help out in other ways. What can I do?
We'd love to have you help out in other ways! Please reach out to and we'll provide you with more information!