SIDNEY — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County (BBBS) continues its mission to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. The organization’s vision is for all youth to achieve their full potential. After a change in leadership early last year, BBBS has continued to create and grow their mentoring programs to meet the ever growing demand for mentors for the youth in our community.
Executive Director Katie Prices has submitted the following report:
The core Community-based program is the most known program for the agency. In this program, adult “Bigs” are matched with youth “Littles” from the community to provide a mentoring relationship. Matches are asked to meet twice a month and are assigned to a Match Support Specialist who connects with them on a regular basis to offer assistance with building a safe, mentoring relationship. BBBS currently has 46 Shelby County matches, and eight Darke County matches with a growing waiting list for both counties.
After a successful recruitment campaign, BBBS hit 94% of their goal to recruit 50 new prospective Bigs in 30 days. The agency rang in the new year with a whopping 28 new matches made in 2022 and celebrated their first match of 2023 on Friday, Jan. 6. Welcome Big Sister Tami and Little Sister Maddie!
In addition to the Community-based program, they offer several Site-based programs. The “Big Buddies”’ program is an after-school mentoring program in which matches commit to nine months together. High school students volunteer twice a month to mentor elementary students on school property. Under the supervision of BBBS staff, “Bigs” work with one or two children on different educational and recreational activities. In Sidney, there are Big Buddies programs at Emerson, Longfellow, and Northwood serving 75 elementary school students. And in Darke County, there are programs at Versailles, Ansonia, Greenville and Tri-Village serving 35 elementary school students.
New to the 2022-23 year, Big Brothers Big Sisters has several exciting programs. “Jackson Center Mentoring” and “Sidney Middle School Mentoring”, which are located at JCS and SMS, match community members and available high school students with elementary or middle school students with on-site BBBS support. Mentoring services are offered weekly and matches meet on a biweekly basis.
Another new program, “TIES” and “PEARLS” consists of 55 young, fifth-grade men and women. Led by Tom Clark and Julie Casiano with one-to-one mentoring coordinated by BBBS School Liaison Mandi Croft. This new program will provide young people with the necessary life skills to carry them into their teenage and adult years.
Approximately 15% of the operating funds for both counties are derived from Shelby and Darke County United Way agencies with additional sources of revenue coming from grants, fundraisers, and community support. Some of our contributions come yearly through the Match Day event through the Shelby County Community Foundation. This year’s Match Day event was again a bigsuccess. We are grateful to fulfill our mission in partnership with our generous donors.
Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts two fundraising events throughout the year. Their biggest and only nationally-recognized event, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, is quickly approaching and will be held March 3-4 this year. If you are interested in forming a team or sponsoring the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency, call or visit their website today.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is always accepting volunteer and youth applications for its programs. For information on how to sponsor fundraisers, get involved as a supporter or potential volunteer, visit our website at www.bigbrobigsis-shelbydarke.org.