The Big Brother Big Sister Program
Supporting New England Since 1949
Established nearly 75 years ago, the Big Brother Association of Boston was established by a small group of volunteers looking to serve fatherless boys in the Boston area. In its first year, the program matched ten boys with an adult mentor, and by 1955,the program had a waitlist of over 300 boys. The program grew throughout the 1950-1960s as the agency hired staff, held fundraising events, and conducted community outreach. In the 1980s, the program added several communities in the greater Boston area outside the city limits. By the early 2000s, the agency was serving over 1,000 young people annually, including a small group of girls on the North Shore. The Large Agency Alliance in Boston was then also founded to bring together the largest and most sophisticated agencies for mentorship advancement.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters program officially took its name in 2006, where it joined forces with Cape & Island BBBS Agency and BBBS of Greater Attleboro, quadrupling the number of girls it served in the program. During these years, technology played a significant role in the agency’s success as it was one of the first to have a digital database.
The Big Brother Big Sister Ideals
The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts is to partner with under-resourced families to provide their children with transformational, one-to-one professionally-supported relationships with caring adult mentors so that their children will thrive. The agency serves over 3,600 boys and girls annually in over 150 communities in the New England area. While the agency has impressively developed its partnership network and program offering while embracing technological innovation, it continues to stay committed to its founding ideals of the importance of maintaining a strong, long-lasting relationship between a child and a caring adult in order to ignite the potential within the child.
Looking Ahead – What’s Next for Big Brother Big Sister
The program’s vision is to inspire, engage, and transform the communities of Eastern Massachusetts by helping young people achieve their full potential and by creating healthier families, better schools, brighter futures, and stronger communities. Through its core values of trust, representation, inclusion, innovation, and results, the agency aims to expand into the Greater New Bedford region and north into Merrimack Valley. By 2022, it intends to launch Operation Go Big, which will include 5,000 young people annually. As it grows, its focus will continue to be on supporting the critical and emotional development skills that young people need in order to thrive in school, work, and life.
In addition, Big Brothers Big Sisters launched the Mentor 2.0 Program in 2016 supported by tech innovation. Mentor 2.0 serves three high schools in the Boston area, connecting high school students with a mentor for all four years with monthly in-person events and weekly online communication.