Many kids face adversity in their lives, including family financial hardships, social/emotional issues and poverty of positive adult relationships. They may lack the connection to school and community that makes them more likely to succeed. Young adults who remain unconnected with school and the workforce cost society $93.7 billion annual in lost wages, taxes and social services. ("The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth", 2012) As a mentor, you can help a child engage with school and develop the foundational character strengths required to succeed.
Four Hours is All it Takes
Kids are waiting - not so patiently - for a Big Brother or Big Sister! Community-based mentoring matches meet twice a month for 2-3 hours. You'll get to know a wonderful kid, make a difference and have fun as you develop a relationship together.
Want to Do Lunch?
One lunch a week at school can make a positive difference in a student's life! PROJECT MENTOR and our other school-based mentors come from businesses, government organizations, community groups, faith-based organizations and the community at large.
A Special Call To Men
Many of the children we serve and those waiting to be matched are minority boys. Their parents/caregivers seek our support, knowing a mentor can help their child realize his own potential and make the positive choices that keep him on the path to success.
Changing lives - one story at a time
The impact a relationship through Big Brothers Big Sisters has is real. We hope these stories inspire you to Start Something by becoming a donor or volunteer, or enrolling a child!
“My mother is a single parent who raised eight children by herself. It was a struggle for her to just provide us with our basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. There were times when I was not sure if my family would have a safe place to live, and there was never enough food in the house. The neighborhood where I lived was also filled with obstacles, and I had to distance myself from the negative forces like gang involvement, gang violence and the influences of alcohol and drugs. I was matched with my Big Brother Andrei Terpylak through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio when I was 8 years old. When we first met, he was a hardworking, determined college student, and I wanted to be just like him. He saw the potential in me and convinced me that a good education would be the key to my future success and my pathway out of poverty. His words and encouragement became my inspiration. Proudly, I am the first person in my family in a decade to graduate from high school, and the first person ever to attend college. I am a student at Wittenberg University, where I am working on a dual major in Accounting and Finance.” — Alumni Little Brother Tiwuan
Selena and Catherine
19-year old Selena graduated from high school with her Big Sister Catherine Bond at her side. Selena lived with her single mother and younger brother. Her father is active and supportive in her life. Both parents knew that Selena had great potential and enrolled her in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program to provide additional support, opportunities and experiences. With her Big Sister at her side, and support of both parents, Selena overcame challenges in her life and has exceeded all expectations. In her senior year of high school, she enrolled in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program at Columbus State Community College. She excelled in the program, made the Dean’s List and earned college credits. During her senior year, Selena was selected as a 2016 recipient of the Horatio Alger Trott Family Scholarship, which was awarded to her at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. This prestigious scholarship is awarded to students based on their determination and hard work. Selena is now attending The Ohio State University.
Three Brothers and Their Bigs
Brothers Jaylin, Michael and Cameron are all matched with Big Brothers! The three live in Columbus with their single maternal grandmother. She was given custody of them following the tragic death of both their parents almost 10 years ago. She has supported every area of the boys’ development, and she felt they needed something more: the additional support of a positive male role model. She reached out to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, and now they are all matched with the mentor and role model that their grandmother had hoped for. Her hopes for the boys are being realized by their current progress. Jaylin is an honor roll student who is also active in the ROTC. Michael is doing extremely well academically, and Cameron is in gifted classes. All are active in sports and have excelled in baseball and wrestling. The three boys, their Bigs and their grandmother were all featured in a Columbus Dispatch article on December 25, 2016!
Elsa Pagliery, Laila…and Dr. Seuss
When 6-year old Laila met her Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor Elsa Pagliery in 2014, Laila’s reading skills needed some strengthening. Elsa, a Project Mentor volunteer from Highlights for Children, was committed to helping Laila develop the social and emotional competencies, and the academic foundation, she needs to succeed. The good news is that Laila’s reading grades have shown consistent improvement during the last two school years.
Dr. Seuss plays an important role in their relationship. Elsa discovered how much Laila enjoys Dr. Seuss, and has given her several books to mark special occasions. Laila loves them, and says, “Elsa and I like to read Dr. Seuss together. She has helped me start my own library.”
Today, a Dr. Seuss library at home, and tomorrow a career involving books and research? Whatever Laila decides to pursue in life, she will have a stronger foundation thanks to her relationship with Elsa. That is what our 1:1 mentoring programs are about…opening up new possibilities, strengthening social and emotional competencies, and developing the foundation for post-secondary academic/career success.
American Showa = Awesome
American Showa held its 2016 golf fundraising event supporting our Delaware County program on July 30 at the Delaware Golf Club. American Showa has provided support for Big Brothers Big Sisters for 23 consecutive years, and more than $405,000 has been donated through the outing to support our programming, impacting thousands of lives throughout Delaware County!
Special thanks to American Showa Committee Members: Steve Carpenter, Joanne Hall, Bill Purtee, Mattie Robinson, Jerrod Hunt and Craig Myers. Major Sponsors were Air-Boss Flexible Products, Classic Solutions, Ice Miller Legal Counsel, Kecy Corporation, Crum Trucking and Master Products. Honorary/Dinner Sponsors were Atlas Industrial Contractors and Limbach Company. Key and Vehicle Sponsors were North American Stamping Group, Die-Matic Corporation, Mill Steel, RiAlto Manufacturing, Crane Worldwide Freight, Cintas Uniforms and American Micro.
Bowl for Kids’ Sake
We had a great time on November 6 at Delaware Lanes! It was Bowl for Kids’ Sake time, our signature fundraising event that helps us serve children throughout Delaware County. We thank everyone who joined in along with local community supporters and generous businesses and sponsors to help our kids and have a ball! Special thanks to our presenting sponsors, Handwritten Forward and NorthStar Golf Club!
Visit here for information about next year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake. There are sponsorship opportunities available, too. If your company or organization would like to get in on the most fun fundraising opportunity in our community, please contact us at 740-369-2447.
There’s Magic at Magic Mountain
Everyone had a blast at Magic Mountain in July, and the kids had the opportunity to play putt-putt, eat pizza and even hang out with Brutus Buckeye! A special thanks to the Lewis Center/Polaris Rotary for hosting the event and providing a backpack filled with school supplies for each of our kids. Thanks to Ty Kashmiry, American Insurance Agent in Powell, for providing a bike helmet for each child and the Delaware General Health District for helping fit helmets. Our friends at the Lewis Center/Polaris Rotary also donated school supply items that allowed us to provide each child with a backpack full of school supplies to start the school year off on the right foot!
Springfield Quickball Team Wins!
The Springfield Quickball team traveled to Mansfield last July, and returned the winners of the Ohio Attorney General’s Statewide Quickball Tournament! The team was a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Cal Ripken Foundation, the Springfield Police Department, Hayward Middle School and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. It was part of the Badges for Baseball program funded by the Attorney General’s Office. Badges for Baseball included a 12-week class that taught students baseball techniques. They also learned about teamwork, leadership and choosing your own future, and got to play alongside Springfield police officers. Big Brothers Big Sisters helps coordinate the program, but participation was not limited to youth who were part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
211 Has Solutions
The United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties’ 2-1-1/Information and Referral is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week. It has hundreds of solutions to everyday problems and can link you to many services including healthcare, counseling, food pantries, transportation, employment, volunteering, recreation, legal aid, tutoring and much more. Thanks, United Way! Find 211 at www.referweb.net/uwcc/.
Bowl for Kids’ Sake
Each November, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Springfield holds its annual fundraiser, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, and all revenue raised by this event directly help children in Clark, Madison and Champaign counties. Companies, individuals and volunteers form teams, solicit sponsors and bowl to raise money to support the work of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Springfield. The Saturday evening bowling event is a real party atmosphere while the Sunday event is geared more for the family. Bowl for Kids’ Sake puts the FUN in fundraising! Hope you can join us this year — watch here for more information!
Dallas & Eric
Little Brother Dallas needed someone to bring even just a tiny bit of light into his life. Dallas has a learning disability which makes it difficult for him to communicate with his peers and do well in school. His parents also struggle to provide for Dallas and his brother. Since September of 2018, Dallas and his Big Brother Eric have met each week at Big Brothers Big Sisters’ school-based mentoring program at Navin Elementary. This weekly connection with his Big Brother Eric gives Dallas a safe space to express himself and the confidence to try new things. Since their first meeting, Dallas has grown into a warm-hearted kid with a big imagination. Big Brothers Big Sisters staff also works closely with his teachers, guidance counselors, and various community partners to ensure Dallas and his family receive ongoing support.
Allyson & Laura
Big Sisters “Laura” and Little Sister “Allyson” have been matched in Union County’s Big Brothers Big Sisters youth mentoring program since March of 2015. From the beginning, Laura and Allyson formed a special bond. Each week Allyson’s eyes would light up as she shared stories with her Big about her friends, home life and school. Laura provided Allyson with 1:1 support, giving Allyson the confidence and space to share some difficult things going on at home. During the 2017-2018 school year, Laura and Allyson transitioned from a school-based match to a community-based match. In their introduction meeting, Laura and Allyson committed to some BIG goals, a few of which involved: reducing stress, making good choices, and trying new things. On one of their first outings, Laura took Allyson to the mall. Any 3rd grade girl would ask their parents to buy them jewelry, stickers or a snack from the food court. Not Allyson! This was her first time to the mall. She was mesmerized by the escalators, as this was her first time riding one. Big Sister Laura recalls her Little’s first outing, “She was scared at first, but eagerly stepped on to the escalator with a bit of encouragement. We had a great time going up and down the escalator together.” This summer, Allyson learned how to swim for the first time by taking swim lessons with Laura at the local YMCA. They also went to a food pantry, where Allyson and Laura served food to the homeless. “I’ve worked with children in other nonprofit programs in the past; Big Brothers Big Sisters is by far my favorite volunteer experience. It’s so refreshing to see transformative change at such a young age,” says Big Sister Laura. Since becoming a community-based match, Allyson and Laura meet several times a month to have fun and work on their match goals. “Being a Big Sister is such a rewarding experience for me,” says Laura. “We have a lot of fun together no matter what we do. I am so proud of Allyson for trying out so many new things. She is growing up so fast. It’s been a blast to watch her grow over the past three years.”
The quality of time invested with your mentee is what counts! We highly suggest free to low-cost activities for community-based matches, like taking a walk in the park, visiting a library, or sharing that pizza you were going to have for lunch anyway. We provide suggestions for free and low-cost activities on a monthly basis.
In our school-based program, our professional staff will facilitate an activity each week. Activities are designed to help strengthen your relationship and help your mentee build character strengths such as motivation, resilience and grit. Mentors and mentees are encouraged to do the weekly activity, but if they decide at a session that it is more important to focus on schoolwork or talk something over, they have that option, too. In our community-based program, we encourage our Bigs to think about sharing an activity that gives you something in common to talk about with your Little. Buy a book or visit a library and read together. Grab a bite to eat and work together to figure out the tip. Play a board game and teach some life lessons about sportsmanship. In addition, we provide suggestions for free and low-cost activities on a monthly basis. Most important, keep your activities simple and enjoy yourselves!
We do offer community-based Couple's Matches. In a Couple's Match, each person completes our enrollment process individually, and then upon acceptance in the program, the couple is matched together with one child. Together, the couple and the child enjoy various activities out in the community.
Whether you are a community-based Big or a school-based mentor, once you are matched with a child, a professional Big Brothers Big Sisters staff member will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a professional staff person there to help, and they will also give you feedback on how you are making a difference.
No, the children in our program have a parent/caregiver in their life already. What they need is an additional caring adult to spend quality, one-on-one time with them: someone to have fun with, someone they can confide in, someone like you!
Project Mentor, our largest school-based mentoring program, is a collaboration between Columbus City Schools and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio's Columbus office. It is an effective, sustainable mentoring program that has been recruiting mentors from our community since 2007 to help empower Columbus City Schools children for a lifetime of success. Project Mentor supports the mission of Columbus City Schools to ensure that each student is highly educated, prepared for leadership and service, and empowered for success as a citizen in a global community. Project Mentor has the support of many Volunteer Partners, including businesses, government organizations, community groups and faith-based organizations, as well as the community at large. To achieve our goals, more volunteers are needed. Project Mentor creates an opportunity to mobilize to achieve a goal that will determine the future of our children and our community, and we need your help and support.
Community-based Bigs meet with their Little a couple of times a month and do everyday activities together out in the community. They arrange their outings at times that work well for the Big, the Little and the Little's family. We provide suggestions for free and low-cost activities on a monthly basis. School-based mentors meet with their mentee for about an hour at the same time each week at school, usually during the student's lunch time. Big Brothers Big Sisters professional staff facilitates activities, but school-based matches can also choose to talk or do homework together at their program. Our largest school-based mentoring program is Project Mentor, which is our collaboration with Columbus City Schools.
Our volunteers come from diverse backgrounds just like the children in our program. They are regular people, just like you. You don't need any special degrees or job skills. You just have to want to positively impact a young person. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and you could be a perfect fit!
Please get in touch if you want more information. We want to talk to you!
JOIN OUR VOLUNTEER TEAM
Are you ready to impact a child’s life for the better? We are looking for people who want to positively impact a child and engage in their community at the same time. We want you to get to know one of our kids, be a friend and make a difference, as you learn together.
To be a matched with a child, a volunteer must:
School-based mentoring program (including Project Mentor)
Be at least 18 years old
Be able to meet with the child at a nearby school site at a designated day/time each week
Be willing to complete a volunteer application, background screening and references
Be willing and able to participate in the program with the youth for at least two school years
Community-based mentoring program
Be at least 21 years old
Meet with the child at least two times each month
Possess a valid driver’s license, reliable transportation and current car insurance
Be willing to complete a volunteer application, background screening, driving record screening and references
Be willing and able to make at least an 18-month commitment to the youth in the program
If you do not meet all these requirements, there are other ways to get involved with us! Follow us on social media, make a donation to help support our work in the community, sign up for our newsletter or advocate on our behalf through your networks and encourage others to get involved.