One Mindful way to influence the next generation of innovators, leaders, and volunteers is to offer them guidance. Big Brothers Big Sisters strives to “help change kids’ perspectives and giving them the opportunity to reach their potential.”
History of Big Brothers Big Sisters
It all began in 1904 when a New York City court clerk named Ernest Coulter saw more and more young boys coming into his court. Coulter decided to make a difference by starting the Big Brothers movement with volunteers to inspire kids and help them stay out of trouble. In 1977, the Big Brothers Association joined forces with Big Sisters International becoming Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBS).
Over the past few decades, their mentorship programs have continued to grow. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Big Brothers Big Sisters has over 350 agencies in 50 states. BBBS also operates in 11 other countries including Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Ireland, and New Zealand. They have 240,000 mentors (or Bigs) that aid a quarter million of mentees (Littles).
The Benefits of Mentorship
Kids around the world are in need of extra guidance and studies show that mentorships are the key. Mentored girls are two and a half times more likely to be confident in their schoolwork. Mentored boys are two times less likely to participate in negative conducts like bullying, cheating, and fighting. Today, 18 million young Americans need or want mentoring; unfortunately, only three million are getting the attention they need. Fortunately, Big Brothers Big Sisters is helping to close the gap.
BBBS is dedicated to helping children between the ages of six and eighteen. These kids come from diverse backgrounds and communities. Some examples include single-parent homes, families struggling in poverty, families with a parent deployed in the military, and families with an incarcerated parent.
Becoming a mentor is simple. All you need is to complete an application, interview and a list of references. BBBS then matches mentors and mentees based on “location, personalities, and preferences.” When the mentor is assigned a mentee they spend a few hours together every month doing things like playing games, going on educational trips (museums, libraries, etc.), or simply talking.