Programs

One-to-one Mentoring is at the Core of Every Program

Our focus is to safely and effectively pair ONE volunteer (“Big”) with ONE child (“Little”) in one of three core mentoring programs. Each mentoring relationship (“match”) is monitored and supported to ensure long and enduring, positive and meaningful relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of the children served, their families, the mentor, and generations to follow.

Mentoring in the community

Community-Based

A Big is matched with a Little ages 6-14 with the commitment to see each other two to four times per month for a couple hours. Matches spend time together in the local community and plan their own outings, based on activities they like to do, such as playing catch, reading books, or getting ice cream.

Mentoring at a school or partner site

School / Site-Based

A Big meets with a Little 2-4 times a month throughout the school year during a non-core class, extended lunch break or after school. Bigs and Littles work on homework together, play games, throw a ball around, or simply share stories with one another.

Special Initiatives

Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring can take place in a variety of forms and targeted populations to meet their unique needs.

Amachi

serving children with incarcerated parents and family members

More than five million children across the U.S. have a parent in prison. Children with 1-2 incarcerated parents have a 70-90% chance of ending up in prison themselves and are more likely to face immense challenges including cycles of poverty, abuse, academic failure, dropping out of school, and even incarceration themselves. These children, coined “Amachi” for the Nigerian Ibo word meaning “who knows what God has brought us through this child”. “Amachi” signifies children who are in dire need of one more supportive, caring adult in their lives to help them reach their full potential and thrive as productive members of society.

Faith-Based

uniting faith-based individuals and organizations with mentoring

In many religious traditions, helping others in your community is embedded within the religious culture, often seen as a way of living out religious beliefs. This call to service often leads individuals and congregations to mentoring. Faith-based mentors are those who identify themselves as religious, participate in the program as part of their religious congregation, or through the BIG HOPE Network.

Beyond School Walls

hosting students from a nearby school at a corporate partner’s office

Through a site-based, sponsored partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, companies give back to the community by hosting a group of Littles from a nearby school at their corporate office. Littles meet in the workplace with an employee Big two to four times per month during the school day for an hour. Our staff manages the program on-site while Bigs and Littles play games, help with schoolwork, tour the office, or just share stories with one another.

High School Bigs

engaging high school students as mentors

When local high schools are positioned near an elementary school, it presents a unique school-based opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to serve as volunteer mentors to elementary students. High School Bigs meet collectively and are paired one-to-one with a Little. Group meetings are facilitated by our staff who provide structured activities, encourage reading together, and supervise the match relationships.

Generations

partnering with retirement, assisted-living, and senior groups

Being a mentor is not reserved for only young adults, but for the young at heart. Often times we hear potential mentors say, “I wish I would have done that when I was younger,” thinking they are, in their opinion, “too old.” However, with decades of knowledge, a wealth of experiences, and spare time to share, retired individuals, empty-nesters, and grandparents make the best mentors. Generations partners with these mentor-rich communities to encourage seniors to volunteer with children needing a mentor.

Military Mentoring

serving children of military families and engaging military members as mentors

We recognize children with a parent in the military face unique challenges due to the stresses of military life. Military Mentoring provides services to children of those who have faithfully served our country – active duty military personnel, veterans, reservists, National Guard and those who are wounded or lost their lives – by selectively pairing them with a volunteer mentor that has a unique understanding of the lifestyle of our armed service families.

Featured Partners

Big Couple/Big Family

mentoring a Little alongside your significant other or family members

Mentoring can be better, together. By becoming a Big Couple or Big Family, you can impact the life of a child in need alongside your significant other (in a long-term relationship of at least two years) or even with your entire family. This program provides the flexibility to have outings with your “Little” both together and/or individually.  It is a great way to spend time together while also positively impacting the life of a child.

Bigs in Blue

connecting youth and police through mentoring

Bigs in BlueSM is a national initiative aiming to connect our youth with local police in order to build strong, trusting, and lasting relationships that have the power to strengthen entire communities.

LGBTQ

Big Brothers Big Sisters proudly serves the LGBTQ community.

One in three children will grow up without a mentor. All children can benefit from mentoring, but those who are experiencing adversity need it most. The Trevor Project estimates that LGBTQ youth make up 5-7% of the nation’s youth, with 13-15% of those in the juvenile justice system being LBGTQ. Compared to non-LGBTQ peers, LGBTQ youth:

  • are twice as likely as their peers to say they have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved
  • are more likely to report that they do not have an adult they can talk to about personal problems
  • are more than twice as likely to experiment with alcohol and drugs
  • 40% say the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBTQ people
  • 23% do not believe that things will get better compared with only 8% of their peers
  • Over 50% say they have been verbally harassed and called names involving anti-gay slurs

Good mentors can change a mentee’s life trajectory by helping them learn new skills, form positive relationships, broaden their horizons, talk through challenges, gain self-esteem, and fulfill their potential.

Big Scholars

is a school based mentoring program matching third and fourth grade students at Scotland Park Elementary.

During the school year Bigs meet as a group in the classroom with their littles to do fun activities. The idea is to enhance the Little’s writing, reading and communication skills as well as have fun.

Big Brothers Big Sisters staff attends and coordinates all the activities during the school year.

MSU Collegiate Scholars

is a site-based mentoring program hosted on the campus of Midwestern State University.  It matches college students with children from Scotland Park Elementary.

This is an opportunity for college students to be mentors to kids in our community. Through this program, our Littles benefit from being matched with young, energetic, positive role models. Activities include, homework help, reading, games and other fun activities.