When it comes to the future of your children and the well-being of our communities, we’re all in this together. Mentoring is way to support their healthy development and success in life. With over 45 years of experience, we are dedicated to being an organization you can trust.
Currently, we enroll children between the ages of 5-14 in the Sangamon, Christian, Macoupin, Montgomery, and Logan county. The agency provides children a strong, enduring and professionally supported one to one mentoring relationship. Many of the mentoring relationships between the Bigs and Littles fall under our Community-Based programs.
In the Community-Based program, the child is matched with a mentor according to shared interests, hobbies, personality, and geography. Once matched, the volunteer picks up the child at his or her home. Bigs and Littles plan their own outings filled with things they enjoy doing, like sports, going to the beach or listening to music and they meet for a few hours once per week. Each match is unique and develops a schedule that works for them, some Bigs meet their Littles on the weekends, others in the evenings.
We encourage no-cost to low cost activities for the match to participate together such as:
Taking a walk
Go to a museum
Go to the park
Hang out & talk
Go to the zoo
Arts & crafts
Visit area colleges
Support your child
When it comes to the future of your child(ren) and the well-being of our communities, we are all in this together! Given this partnership, it should come as no surprise that we need the parents and guardians of Littles to be involved in the entire mentoring process. Along those lines, parents and guardians will be provided with respect, frequent check-ins, and inclusion in every aspect of the match relationship.
During the application process, you will be asked to provide information about your child’s strengths and needs. In addition, you will be asked to approve the selection of the Big Brother or Big Sister for your Little. Once matched, you will remain closely involved in many ways, including:
Big impact with proven results
We have always known we were making a positive impact on children and empowering them to succeed. A nationwide study confirmed it for us.
Public/Private Ventures, an independent Philadelphia-based national research organization, looked at over 950 boys and girls from eight Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country selected for their large size and geographic diversity. This study, conducted in 1994 and 1995, is widely considered to be foundational to the mentoring field in general and to Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based program in particular.
Approximately half of the children were randomly chosen to be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister. The others were assigned to a waiting list. The matched children met with their Big Brothers or Big Sisters about three times a month for an average of one year.
Researchers surveyed both the matched and unmatched children, and their parents on two occasions: when they first applied for a Big Brother or Big Sister, and again 18 months later.
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:
According to the study, Big Brothers Big Sisters programs were found to “focus less on specific problems after they occur, and more on meeting youths’ most basic developmental needs.” The matches that were observed shared everyday activities: eating out, playing sports or attending sports events, going to movies, sightseeing, and just hanging out together. But what mattered to the children were not the activities. It was the fact that they had a caring adult in their lives.
Because they had someone to confide in and to look up to, they were, in turn, doing better in school and at home. And at a time in their lives when even small choices can change the course of their future, the Littles were also avoiding violence and substance abuse.
In addition to the lives of Littles being changed for the better, the impact is contagious.
"When Little Brothers and Little Sisters feel good about themselves," said Mathis, "they can positively impact their friends and families, their schools, and their communities. And as this important study has shown, these young people believe in themselves because a Big Brother or Big Sister believed in them.”
Public/Private Ventures, a national research organization with more than 30 years of experience in studying child development and social service issues, conducted the independent research.
The study was funded by the Lilly Endowment, the Commonwealth Fund, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and an anonymous donor.