Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore (BBBSL) is a one-to-one mentoring organization serving over 230 children in Muskegon, Ottawa, Oceana and Mason counties. Our mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that are proven to change lives for the better, forever. We enlist adult volunteer, “Bigs”, and match them with “Littles”, who are children between the ages of 6-18 and would benefit the most from having a Big. The purpose of our services is to give children a caring and supportive adult mentor, who’s been thoroughly screened and trained, that will guide them to success, hold them accountable, and help them reach their full potential.
BBBS is America’s most impactful volunteer experience because our services provide a tangible way to change a life. We are not saviors or heroes. Instead, we create and professionally support meaningful match relationships to help children ignite and harness their own potential—the potential they have had all along. And Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country have been doing just that for almost 120 years; locally we’ve been serving children and families for 50 years.
showed improved scholastic competence
showed low levels of truancy
had improved attitudes towards risky behaviors
had improved parental trust
showed improved social acceptance
Community-based mentoring is the traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters relationship. Community-based mentoring is all about one-on-one time spent with the volunteer and the child doing things they enjoy in the community. The commitment is one year with the goal for the match to spend an average of 6 hours a month together. “Bigs” meet their “Littles” on the weekend or in the evening after school. In research conducted in 1994 and 1995, researchers found that after 18 months of spending time with their Bigs, the Little Brothers and Little Sisters, compared to those children not in our program, were: 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27% less likely to begin using alcohol, 52% less likely to skip school, 37% less likely to skip a class and 33% less likely to hit someone.
Site-Based Mentoring Program
Our Site-based mentoring programs are in schools and at community locations. Site-based mentoring takes place on school grounds during school hours or at partner locations during after-school hours. During the summer, the matches are encouraged to write letters to one another until the new school year starts back. Matches are encouraged to talk about academics, aspirations, and just have fun. It’s really all about friendship, guidance and building a relationship. A Match Specialist is assigned to each match and stays in contact with the Big, Little, school, and guardian through the entire relationship. Big Brothers Big Sisters is always there for Bigs; it’s a partnership.