Big Brothers Big Sisters began in 1904 when Ernest Coulter, a court clerk from New York City, began New York Big Brothers to help bring guidance into the lives of children caught up in the juvenile court system. This small organization would later become Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Today, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves primarily as a preventative program, working to keep at-risk children from becoming a statistic.
Locally, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas has served the San Antonio community since 1978. Since that time, the agency has expanded to serve youth ages 5 – 21 in Atascosa, Bexar, Cameron, Comal, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Kendall, Kerr, Kleburg, Nueces, San Patricio, Webb and Wilson counties. In 2012, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas served over 2,900 youth in one-to-one mentoring relationships.
The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. The vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas’ vision is that all children achieve success in life.
BBBS currently has over 1200 “littles” waiting to be matched. Based on enrollment data collected for all clients participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs, we serve some of the most at-risk and underserved in our community:
- 68% live in single parent homes, with grandparents or in foster care;
- 22% have a parent or family member incarcerated, on probation or parole, putting them at a 70% higher risk of being imprisoned during their own lifetime;
- 29% have household incomes below $10,000, and an additional 22% come from households with incomes between $10,000 and $20,000; and
- 58% are Hispanic and 18% are African-American.
January is National Mentoring Month (NMM), focusing national attention on the need for mentors, as well as how each of us can work together to create positive outcomes for our young people. NMM celebrates mentoring and the positive effect it can have on young lives. Its goals are to raise awareness of mentoring, recruit individuals to mentor and recognize the impact mentoring can make in our community.
As a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister, you will be serving as a mentor, support system, role model and friend. There are several ways to get involved. Below is a list of the different programs we offer.
- Visit with your Little Brother or Sister about once a week
- It works with your schedule
- Take your Little Brother or Sister on everyday events like running errands or even grocery shopping
- Participate in community activities or go to the park
- Meet with your Little Brother or Sister once a week at their school
- Easily fits during your lunch hour once a week to visit
- Eat lunch, play games or visit the library
- Students are matched with mentors from a local business/organization
- Matches meet once a month for an hour
- The relationship lasts during the school year
- Big Brothers Big Sisters staff facilitate each meeting
- Have lunch together, play games, explore the work place and spend time together
Please visit our website www.bigmentor.org for more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas or contact Barbie Leal-Hallam, Outreach and Recruitment Manager at 210-225-6322 x137 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.