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Big Buddies is a community-based youth development program that works with youth (ages 5-18) to nurture personal growth and to support, inspire, and guide them toward a future of unlimited opportunities.
Big Buddies provides tools and opportunities in the form of mentors, after school programs, community events, and group activities to help youth navigate the challenges of growing up healthy, safe, and prepared for success by offering programming focused on:
- Social Experiences
- Physical Experiences
- Personal Well-being
How the Big Buddies Program Works
Big Buddies is focused on a mentoring aspect in all areas of our programming.
Group/Community Events: Youth are invited to participate in many group and community events focusing on topics such as arts, education, sports, community action, culture, and community togetherness that will help guide and inspire them in furthering education, enhancing self-esteem, respecting all people and our surroundings, making appropriate decisions, helping others, expanding horizons, and increasing community involvement.
One on One Mentoring: Based on availability of volunteer mentors, youth are matched with a caring mentor to have a more focused mentoring experience. Mentors and youth spend 2-4 hours a month, or more, and are offered guidance, support, and inspiration through the mentor relationship, typically lasting one year, though some of our mentor relationships have turned into long lasting friendships.
After School Programming: Focused after, or during, school programming for girls, boys, or mixed groups, using available or created curriculum with topics to help our youth become successful in their journey to adulthood. Topics include self-esteem, health and fitness, positive attitudes, skills and talents, goal setting and many more. We are constantly looking for new curriculum and topics to offer to our youth.
Interested in Becoming a Big Buddy Know Someone Who Should Be a Little Buddy
Big Buddies believes that every young person should have the opportunity to:
- Discover interests and assets
- Develop skills and confidence necessary to make effective and appropriate choices
- Have access to resources and learning
- Graduate from high school
- Pursue higher education
- Find and keep a meaningful job
- Develop a sense of purpose and mission for their lives
The History of Big Buddies
Big Buddies first started providing mentoring services in 1989 when a group of concerned parents and grandparents wanted to find a way to provide the opportunity for mentoring to children in need. Today our goals have evolved to encourage youth to build skills and forge productive relationships with family, peers, and community; to develop social competencies and positive values; and to form an optimistic sense of themselves and their future.
What has become clear over the many years that Big Buddies has been helping youth, is that in order for youth to navigate successfully from childhood to adulthood, they need access during their school years to productive, challenging, and positive out-of-school-time activities. All youth can benefit from this type of mentoring by caring adults who are committed to the most effective ways of helping youth grow into healthy adults.
Testimonial from former little buddy, Selene, 25, (August, 2017):
Big Buddies seriously impacted my life in a positive way!! Because of the Big Buddies program, not only did I gain more family members but I know Suzy’s family will always be there for me. I love every single one of them and I’m blessed to call them family! She’s been my cheerleader and is always there when I need someone. Suzy and I were matched January 7, 2009. We closed our match the year I graduated but still remain close as the years go by! We have been in each other’s lives for the good and the bad. The Big Buddies program really changed my life. YOU can also have a successful story and can be a part of this special program. I believe in this program and you just never know how much of a difference you can make to a child’s life!