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For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country.


BBBS was founded in 1904, when Judge Ernest Kent Coulter noticed many young boys coming through his courtroom. He realized that caring adults could help many of these boys stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers. By 1916, Big Brothers had spread to 96 cities across the country. Big Sisters International was founded in 1970 through a Catholic charity and in 1977 both groups joined forces and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.


BBBS’s website states their mission as providing children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. They aim to decrease risky behaviors in youth, instill greater confidence and higher aspirations and promote educational success.

How it Works

BBBS operates by pairing a Big with a Little. Their unique brand of one-to-one mentoring, in which a child facing adversity is carefully matched with a caring adult mentor in a relationship supported by professional Big Brothers Big Sisters staff members, changes lives for the better. How do they change lives? Studies have shown that children involved in the program are less likely to skip school, engage in risky behavior, hit someone, drink or do drugs. Bigs are an active presence in their Little’s lives, often times even visiting them at their school. The relationships are monitored by the foundation in order to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the pairing.

Big Brothers Big Sisters has a very specific formula for success. They take the time to create good matches between adults and children. Men are paired with boys and women with girls. After that, both parties are supported by BBBS. Support comes in the way of free events, one on one tutoring time, and countless other methods. Big Brother Big Sisters is continuously rated among the best for children’s charities.