Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois (BBBSCIL) has been serving low-income, underprivileged youth from single-parent families for more than 30 years. BBBSCIL serves Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Iroquois, Livingston, Macon, McLean, Morgan, Piatt, Sangamon, and Vermilion counties. Our mentoring programs prevent juvenile delinquency and divert thousands of youth at-risk of becoming involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides mentoring services to clients in two ways. The first is Community-based mentoring, where the mentor and child meet outside of school hours – usually evenings or weekends. The second option is Site-based mentoring, where mentors visit with their child once weekly during the school day. Both locations require the same screening, training, and ongoing support for both mentor and the child’s family. Children are referred to our program for various reasons, most commonly:
- From single-parent homes, most often a single mother with children
- Low income homes
- Low self-esteem, academic issues & behavioral issues
- Exposure to violence, criminal activity or the incarceration of a parent
We strive to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth, primarily through a professionally supported one-to-one relationship with a caring adult, and to assist them in achieving their highest potential as they grow to become responsible men and women.
BBBSCIL serves approximately 800 youth annually, and we believe that mentors can provide these children hope. Mentoring develops many positive assets in children that are absolutely critical to their well-being. It is also a proven method for preventing negative behaviors. Public/Private Ventures has published several landmark studies on the effectiveness of mentoring programs. This independent research solidified our Big Brothers Big Sisters method as the gold standard for mentoring. These findings confirmed that children matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister are:
- 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
- 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
- 52% less likely to skip school and 37% less likely to skip a class
- More confident of their performance on schoolwork
- One-third less likely to resort to violence to solve a problem
- Better equipped to get along more effectively within their individual families
The purpose of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to help children develop attributes that will help them find success in life. Through the mentoring relationships we are helping the children in our program:
- Graduate from high school
- Avoid involvement in the juvenile justice system
- Go to college or gain employment as contributing members of our community
In 1904, Ernest Coulter founded what is now Big Brothers Big Sisters. A military veteran, lawyer, journalist, and human welfare advocate, Coulter dedicated his life to public service.
Ernest Coulter, a young New York City court clerk, was seeing more and more boys come through his courtroom. He recognized that caring adults could help many of these kids stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers. That marked the beginning of the Big Brothers movement.
At around the same time, the members of a group called Ladies of Charity were befriending girls who had come through the New York Children’s Court. That group would later become Catholic Big Sisters.
In 1977, the groups joined forces and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Locally Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois was established in Macon County in 1987 and began as part of a YMCA-sponsored organization. In 1992, a full-time Executive Director was hired and in 1995, we became an independent organization and a full affiliate agency of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Over the last 30 years the agency has expanded from a program serving 25 children per year in Decatur to serving 250 children annually. The organization has also expanded to include eight additional counties serving over 650 families annually.
Meet Colton. He is one of 200 children waiting for a mentor. Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking for caring adults who would like to volunteer as a mentor for children in our community. If you would like to learn more, please join us
February 9, 2023 5:30-6:30 pm.
Meeting ID: Meeting ID: 884 3006 9140
February 21, 2023 5:30-6:30 pm.
Meeting ID: Meeting ID: 836 4728 1966
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Become a Bronze Sponsor by donating $1,500.