How did we get started?
For more than a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been helping change kids’ perspectives and giving them the opportunity to reach their potential. And we have more than a century of volunteers, donors, and advocates just like you to thank.
It all started in 1904, when a young New York City court clerk named Ernest Coulter was seeing more and more boys come through his courtroom. He recognized that caring adults could help many of these kids stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers. That marked the beginning of the Big Brothers movement.
At around the same time, the members of a group called Ladies of Charity were befriending girls who had come through the New York Children’s Court. That group would later become Catholic Big Sisters.
Both groups continued to work independently until 1977, when Big Brothers Association and Big Sisters International joined forces and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
In 2002, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Brazos Valley opened its doors. Since then, we have continually served 350+ youth annually.
Studies show that children matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister are less likely to use illegal drugs or alcohol, less likely to skip school, more confident in their school performance, and more trusting of parents and guardians.
All volunteers are fully screened and trained before they are matched with a child. After the match is made, professional case managers support the match and assist the volunteer with any issues that may arise. It is through this professional match support that Big Brothers Big Sisters is able to achieve such significant positive outcomes.
Who does Big Brothers Big Sisters serve?
Children ages 6 to 16 can apply to enroll in our program, and they can stay matched up to age 21. The average age for Littles is 12.
More boys than girls apply to be Littles. Due to the fact that more women than men volunteer to be Bigs, sometimes boys are matched with Big Sisters.
Children in our program come from diverse family backgrounds. The majority live in single-parent homes and almost 40% have a family member who is or has been incarcerated. Many of our Littles’ families have incomes near or below poverty level.
Children in our program participate voluntarily; they want/need a mentor in their lives.
What does participation in Big Brothers Big Sisters do for children?
We recognize the effectiveness of prevention. By providing a positive, adult role model, children are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Studies have shown that Littles who participate in our program have higher self-esteem, healthier interpersonal relationships, effective communication, and greater academic success.
Our program is structured around the 40 Developmental Assets recognized by The Search Institute. The more assets a child has, the more likely they are to grow into healthy, caring, and responsible adults. Littles take an asset assessment when they enroll to determine the assets that need to be maintained vs. built. The Big and Volunteer Manager work together to develop an achievement tracker based on this assessment to ensure that the match is targeting the appropriate areas.
How are we funded?
There is no cost for children and families to participate in the program.
Volunteers pay a one-time $25 fee to offset the cost of background checks.
We are a 100% volunteer and donor-supported organization. Our annual fundraisers, grants, and state funding keep our program running.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Brazos Valley has an annual revenue of about $439,000 and serves 350+ children per year. We hope to grow to serve all the children in the Brazos Valley who want and need a mentor.