Big Brothers Big Sisters is not your typical organization. We help children realize their potential and build their futures. We nurture children and strengthen communities. And we couldn’t do any of it without you.
Changing perspectives. Changing lives.
For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
Our History at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois:
In 1979, a group of social workers from the Belleville Area Special Education District and concerned community volunteers came together to form an interest group, which became the first Board of Directors. The problem they wanted to address was the growing number of students in need of positive role models and mentors. In 1980, this group requested affiliation with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, hired the first staff person as Executive Director, became incorporated as a non-profit organization in Illinois, and applied for tax exempt status with the IRS.
In the first year of providing service to youth facing adversity, the agency matched 35 children with mentors and served over 80 children through group activities. Since that time, thousands of children have benefited from the individual attention of a positive role model and mentor. With the support of the individuals and corporations in the community, the agency expanded services to Madison County in 1986. Services began in Clinton County in 2001 and in Monroe County in 2003. In 2015, more than 400 youth were matched with a mentor and more than 45 children received counseling services by our in-house counselor.
That all children achieve success in life.
Our mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
We partner with parents/guardians, volunteers and others in the community and hold ourselves accountable for each child in our program achieving:
• Higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships
• Avoidance of risky behaviors
• Educational success
Our Programs Start Something:
Here's the proof. National research has shown that positive relationships between Littles and their Bigs have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives. By participating in our programs, Little Brothers and Sisters are:
-more confident in their schoolwork performance
-able to get along better with their families
-46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
-27% less likely to begin using alcohol
-52% less likely to skip school.1
1Tierney, J.P., Grossman, J.B., and Resch, N.L. (1995) Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures