What We Do

Children who have positive role models are more likely to succeed than those who do not. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ 1 to 1 mentoring services are proven to help children overcome adversity and beat the odds. Most children that we serve are in single-parent and low-income families or households where a parent is incarcerated.

Our vision is 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!

More Than 100 Years of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

1902

Ernest Coulter, court clerk, helps organize the first New York Children’s Court; Ladies of Charity, later Catholic Big Sisters of New York, starts to befriend girls who come before the New York Children’s Court

1903

Businessman Irvin F. Westheimer befriends a young boy in Cincinnati, OH; seeds are formed for the start of Big Brothers in Cincinnati

1904

Ernest Coulter founds the organized Big Brothers movement by obtaining 39 volunteers, who each agree to befriend one boy

1912

The New York Times reports Big Brothers activity in 26 cities

1914

Ernest Coulter embarks on nationwide lecture tour on behalf of Big Brothers; planning begins for a national Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization

1916

Big Brothers work spreads to 96 cities

1917

The first national conference of Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations is held in Grand Rapids, MI., leading to the later organization of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation

1923

Big Sisters work geared to African-Americans is underway in Louisville, KY and Brooklyn, NY; Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., becomes treasurer of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation; First motion picture based on a Big and Little Brother relationship is released by Paramount Pictures
1925
Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation holds its first conference for agency executives; President Calvin Coolidge becomes patron of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation
1930
Six hundred delegates attend a Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation meeting in New York City on March 8
1934
President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt become patrons of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation
1940
National Committee on Big Brothers and Big Sisters service is created to continue to pursue the formation of a national group
1947
Big Brothers Association headquarters opens in Philadelphia
1948
Norman Rockwell produces the sketch that becomes a symbol for the Big Brothers Association
1951
Big Brothers of the Year Program begins, Associate Justice Tom Clark of the U.S. Supreme Court and J. Edgar Hoover are named
1952
Ernest Coulter dies
1958
Big Brothers Association is chartered by Congress
1969
Big Brothers Association grows to 150 affiliated agencies
1970
Big Sisters International is incorporated
1971
Big Brothers Association reports 208 affiliates
1977
Big Sisters International and Big Brothers Association merge, forming Big Brothers Big Sisters of America with 357 agencies
1984
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America occupies its new headquarters at 230 North 13th Street in Philadelphia
1985
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is honored with a commemorative stamp by the Postmaster General
1986
Big Brothers Big Sisters begins long range governance planning process: creating standards and required procedures
1989
Public/Private Ventures begins study to gauge impact on youth of having a Big Brother or Sister
1994
Big Brothers Big Sisters kicks off Project 21st Century to develop mission and vision statements, goals and strategies;
“How-To” mentoring training developed
1995
Public/Private Ventures Study research shows measurable, positive results on youth who have a Big Brother or Sister, seminal research in the field of youth mentoring
1997
President William J. Clinton holds Volunteer Summit in Philadelphia; Big Brothers Big Sisters plays key role
1998
Big Brothers Big Sisters International is founded
2000
Big Brothers Big Sisters in Schools becomes a core program. Partnerships with schools and volunteer-rich organizations such as churches, colleges, employers, and fraternities are emphasized. The Amachi Big Brothers Big Sisters program which matches children of prisoners with church congregants is piloted.
2001
Brand New Thinking marketing program focuses on the shared experiences to broaden volunteer appeal.  The tagline “Little Moments, Big Magic” is developed
2002
The Service Delivery System, consistent approach for providing services to children at all agencies is created to increase Big Brothers Big Sisters’ ability to offer quality services to greater numbers of youth
2003
President George W. Bush announces three-year $450 million mentoring initiative in his State of the Union Address
2004
Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrates 100 years of serving America’s youth
2006
First Lady Laura Bush stars in a public service announcement to recruit volunteers across the nation