Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento Area

The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento Area, Inc., is to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth 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 confident, competent and caring individuals, by providing committed volunteers, national leadership and standards of excellence.

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Address:640 Bercut Drive, Suite A
Sacramento, CA 95811
County or Parish:Sacramento
Primary NTEE:Youth Development 
Sub NTEE:Big Brother, Big Sisters 
Executive Director:Theresa Gerhart
Primary Phone:916-646-9300 x103
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento Area (BBBS) is an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the oldest youth mentoring charity. BBBS was founded in Sacramento in 1962 to serve at-risk children, primarily from single-parent homes, in the Sacramento area, later expanding to include Yolo, Placer and San Joaquin counties. In February 2010, our service area was expanded to Yuba and Sutter Counties through a new partnership with county agencies. Since 1962, we have served over 10,000 children, their families and volunteers who have been matched with the youth. While the BBBS's primary focus is community-based, one-to-one, long term mentoring of at-risk children, from single parent homes, in 2003 we began mentoring children who, as determined by the child's teacher, could benefit from a relationship with a mentors, and these school-based programs incorporated high school students as mentors for younger children, thus enhancing the lives of and developing the skills of both. BBBS recruits, screens and trains volunteers (primarily adults) as mentors for children, ages 7-18.

The mentors are known as 'big brothers' or 'big sisters', and the children as 'little brothers and sisters' (Bigs and Littles). BBBS conducts thorough screening of all volunteers and assessment of the children and their needs, assets, and their ability to benefit from a mentor. Bigs and littles are matched, based on common interests, preferences, personalities and skills. Once matched, they meet weekly for activities that will enhance the child's self esteem and help to develop his/her life skills. BBBS services are preventative - to help each child develop individual assets and to develop the decision-making and other life skills that will help him succeed in school, refrain from delinquent or other risky behaviors, and to succeed in his/her family or community. Staff strive, through professional coaching and on-going training, to maintain each match for a year or more in order to provide the child with emotional support and guidance as he/she develops through the various stages childhood. While BBBS maintains a professional staff to screen, train, and match the mentors and children, the day-to- day services of the organization are provided by volunteer mentors who are supervised by BBBS staff for as long as the match is active or until the child exits the program. Support staff provide volunteer support, informal counseling for parents/guardians, and consistently monitor the activities of the big/little matches for appropriateness and child safety. This staff support is provided on-site for school-based or site-based programs and through mandatory monthly phone or in-person contacts.
BBBS is seeking funds to maintain its services to at-risk youth. Funds are needed to continue to serve at-risk children in 6 Northern California counties. Monies are used for recruiting qualified volunteers, screening and training them, matching them with children who are fully assessed and accepted, and then supervising the resulting relationships for as long as the children/mentors remain in the program. Businesses and groups are encouraged to do third-party events and promotions to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento Area.
Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Program - Monetary support is needed to sustain the following programs: Community-based, Site-based, and Sports Bigs.
  2. Board Members - 6-8 Board Members are needed to ensure growth of agency
  3. Volunteers - Big Brothers and Big Sistes are needed in Elk Grove, and for our Site=based programs.
  4. In-Kind Donations - Raffle items for events, office supplies, postage stamps, an tickets to sporting events to give to volunteers.
  5. Technology - 7 new laptops are needed for staff.
We are proud to be able to serve the youth in our region with professionally supported, quality mentoring relationships with well screened and trained volunteers. Our services have significantly improved lives of local children and the community: 97% of children served in 2013 showed improvement in areas of self-esteem, academic achievement and problem solving. 95% improved their relationships with peers, family and school. We look forward to working with our community partners to expand our services to more youth, positively impacting us all.

Yours in Service,
Collette Walls, Operations Manager, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento