It starts with a Little

Since 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been changing children's lives by matching them with caring adults to guide them on a path to success.

Millions of children need a caring adult role model.

When children and teens have the influence of a caring adult, they are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and to focus on academics. Today's youth face a variety of challenges, and being matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister can help them navigate these challenges and reach their potential.


What's New from Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Sister Myra and Little Sister Saleen

Meet Our 2018 Big Sister of the Year, Myra

When Little Sister Saleen was 6 years old, she lost her father. At school, her teacher knew she wasn’t coping well with the loss, so they referred her to Big Brothers Big Sisters. She was matched with Myra, who became her Big Sister and began visiting her at school once a week. The two connected instantly, but their match hasn’t been without obstacles. Early on, Myra noticed patches of Saleen’s thick brown hair were missing, and discovered she was pulling out her hair to cope with the loss of her father. With the guidance of her Match Support Specialist, Myra decided to bring supplies to Saleen’s school and help her make a memory book about her father, so they could talk about the happy, positive memories she had of her dad. In June, when Myra was recognized as the National Big Sister of the Year, Saleen stood confidently next to her as she accepted the award and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Big Sister Jessica and Little Sister Alejandra

Relationship Built on Trust and Honesty Leads to Little Sister Getting Help

One afternoon over burgers, Little Sister Alejandra shared with her Big Sister Jessica a story that changed their relationship and their entire lives. Jessica remembers her heart breaking as Alejandra revealed to her that she was experiencing a situation at home that no child should ever have to endure. “It still feels surreal, six years later, but I went into autopilot in contacting Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Jessica says. “With the help of my match support specialist, steps were taken to ensure Ale’s safety.” Alejandra is in a much safer place now, partly because she was able to open up to a trusted adult, her Big Sister. Building that trust took Big Sister Jessica’s time and dedication.

Big Brother Toru and Little Brother Javi

Big Provides Support He Never Had

Growing up in Japan, Big Brother Toru felt lost. The pressure to succeed was overwhelming, and it wasn’t until he came to America that he felt that he had the support of mentors looking out for him. When he became a firefighter, and later a photojournalist, he found people who showed him the path forward. “In each job, I was blessed to have mentors who took me under their wing and guided me through the ups and downs of life and my career,” he says. Toru knew he wanted to make sure he helped someone who was feeling lost like he had, so he signed up to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters. He was matched with Little Brother Javi, who he helped find success not by applying pressure but by providing support.

From Quitting School to Buying a Cap and Gown

At the beginning of Boshanna’s senior year, her best friend and her brother were involved in an incident that resulted in their arrest. It hit Boshanna hard. Big Sister Karen remembers it being one of Boshanna’s lowest points. “Boshanna was devastated and depressed,” she says. “She stopped going to school.” For four months, Boshanna didn’t attend school. Even when she faced truancy court, her dedicated Big Sister never lost faith in her. They talked about it, and Big Sister Karen let Boshanna know she was disappointed and that she felt graduating high school was crucial. With a new resolve to succeed both in and out of the classroom, Boshanna returned to school.

Big Brother Nick and Little Brother Gavin

A Few Goals Lead to a Winning Outcome

Gavin used to lie in bed, crying, because his dad showed no interest in being part of his life. Dealing with the pain of that crowded out everything else. He started struggling with his grades and getting in trouble at school. Gavin’s mom was worried about her son, so one of the resources she turned to was Big Brothers Big Sisters. Gavin was matched with Big Brother Nick, who he met with a big smile. Nick showed up with a set of goals, which turned out to be all their match needed.

How does Big Brothers Big Sisters help Kasaius?

Matching

When Big Brothers Big Sisters works to match a Little with a Big, we take into account the needs, personality, interests, and goals of both the child and the adult volunteer. We introduce the Little and his or her family to the Big slowly and make sure everyone is fully committed to the match before it is made official. Little Brother Kasaius is outgoing and up for anything, so he needed a Big who was creative and had a variety of interests.

Relationship Management

Children like Kasaius get the most out of their one-to-one relationship with their Big when the Big, the parent or guardian, and the child talk openly with their Match Support Specialist. Working as part of the team helping the child succeed, the Match Support Specialist can help identify problems, brainstorm solutions, and connect the family with essential services.

Activities

When Kasaius’ Big Brother saw the email from BBBS saying that there were spots open in a free acting class, he jumped at the chance to take Kasaius. BBBS affiliates across the country provide activities for Bigs and Littles and also alert Bigs to opportunities in the community. This enables Bigs to get to know other Bigs, who might be experiencing similar things and who might have great suggestions for more new activities.

Screening and Training

Child safety is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ highest priority. To achieve the highest standards possible, we work constantly to review and strengthen our background check systems as new best practices in the industry emerge. We also make sure our Bigs and our staff have the training and resources they need to help Littles on their path to success.