Who We Serve
Something for everyone
With the help of a network of donors, partners, and advocates in all 50 states, Big Brothers Big Sisters targets the children who need us most, including those living in single parent homes, growing up in poverty and coping with parental incarceration. Starting something begins with finding a great match between a Big and a Little. Making these matches, and performing all the background work involved with them, is possible because of donations from people like you. It’s also why we’re able to offer such a wide variety of programs that pair children, ages 6 through 18, with role models in one-to-one relationships.
A focus on communities facing adversity
Big Brothers Big Sisters operates several special programs to help us meet the needs of communities facing adversity. These programs help us focus our work with donors and partners in recruiting new Bigs, meet the needs of traditionally underserved communities, and assist communities impacted by circumstances like parental incarceration or military deployment.
Community Based Mentoring
In each of our lives, there has been an adult, other than our parents, who broadened our horizons and brought a little magic into our lives. By becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, you can do the same for a child. You will both be forever changed by the experience.
Getting together is a great time for both the Big and the Little. It doesn’t require a special occasion or expensive activities, just a few hours every month to share the simple things you already like to do. You can…
- Walk the dog
- Shoot hoops
- Play a board game
- Learn an art or craft
- Plant a garden
- Rake leaves or weed your garden
- Create a new recipe
- Wash and wax the car
- Show your best card trick
- Make a scrapbook
- Visit a museum
- Just talk and hang out
Program options include:
- Little Brother matched to a Big Brother
- Little Sister matched to a Big Sister
- Little Brother matched to a Big Couple (married husband and wife)
The process to become a Big Brother or Big Sister is easy.
Step 1: Learn about getting started
Our professional team works with you to find the best friendship for you and a special child. Please call the Big Brothers Big Sisters of NWGA Mtns. office at 706-278-0702 to discuss the next steps to become a Big. If you are certain that you would like to participate, you may also submit your contact information via web here, and a staff member will follow up with you soon.
Step 2: Meet with a professional staff member
We spend time getting to know you through an informational interview. The better we know you, the better we can match you with the right child. We will also complete your background and reference checks.
Step 3: Learn about your potential Little Brother or Little Sister
Step 4: Experience the Magic of Mentoring
Our team is there to ensure your match is a “Big” success. To ensure that this is a fun and rewarding experience for you and your Little, you will have contact with our Match Support professionals throughout the life of your friendship. Once you become a mentor, you will receive on-going training opportunities. You don’t have to empty your wallet to find fun activities. Big Brothers Big Sisters of NWGA Mtns. offers bi-monthly activities for matches to participate and the agency notifies Bigs about free or low cost activities offered in the community.
The Buddy Program (School-Based Mentoring)
It may sound obvious, but sometimes the best place to help a child realize their potential is at school. Kids enjoy having their Bigs meet with them there, whether it’s in the classroom or on the playground. And parents know what a positive impact it makes.
Our School-Based Mentoring program is built on partnerships between Whitfield, Murray, and Gordon County
community volunteers and Big Brothers Big Sisters NWGA Mtns. Volunteers include high school students, college students, corporate volunteers, and retirees. The goal of these partnerships is creating mentoring friendships between these volunteers and children attending an elementary, middle, or high school of their choice. Each of these volunteers is matched with a youth at one of the participating schools and meets with that youth for an hour once per week at the school.
Some of the biggest supporters of our Buddy Program are actually teachers and counselors. They see students come back from their time with their Big filled with confidence, smiling big, ready to learn and eager to succeed.
The key attribute of this school-based approach is that the teacher or counselor is much more engaged in the relationship, providing access (with parent’s permission) to the youth’s academic performance. The mentor supplements and reinforces what’s happening in the school in a collaborative effort to develop the desired personal, social, and academic attributes.
Learning about life.
Although it takes place at schools, our Buddy Program isn’t limited to the classroom. Of course, some Littles do talk with their Bigs about class, or do homework, or read together, but it’s perfectly fine to play a board game, shoot hoops in the gym, or play on the playground. At the end of the day, it’s really all about starting a friendship, providing guidance and inspiring them to reach their potential.
At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we have tremendous confidence in our ability to impact children and put them on the right path. But it means even more when an outside study comes to the same conclusion. Learn more about our Nationwide School-Based Mentoring Study.
- Antioch Elementary
- Brookwood Elementary
- Cedar Ridge Elementary
- Chatsworth Elementary
- City Park Elementary
- Coahulla Creek High
- Cohutta Elementary
- Coker Elementary
- Dalton High
- Dalton Middle
- Dawnville Elementary
- Dug Gap Elementary
- Eastbrook Middle
- Eastside Elementary
- Eton Elementary
- Friendship House
- Gladden Middle
- Murray County High
- New Hope Elementary
- New Hope Middle
- North Murray High
- Northwest High
- Park Creek Elementary
- Pleasant Grove Elementary
- Roan Elementary
- Southeast High
- Spring Place Elementary
- Tunnel Hill Elementary
- Valley Point Elementary
- Valley Point Middle
- Varnell Elementary
- Westside Elementary
- Westwood Elementary
Nationwide School Based Mentoring Study
At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we have tremendous confidence in our ability to impact children and put them on the right path. But it means even more when an outside study comes to the same conclusion.
In 2004, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NWGA Mtns. was one of 10 agencies across the nation to be chosen by Public/Private Ventures to participate in a three yearlandmark study of school based mentoring. Public/Private Ventures —a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the effectiveness of social policies, programs and community initiatives, especially as they affect youth and young adults —
The analysis culminated with the issuing of “Making a Difference in Schools: The Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring Impact Study”. And the results? The study found that within a one year period, Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring makes a real difference in the lives of our nation’s at-risk school children. Since that time, Big Brothers Big Sisters has integrated the learnings into our programs so that these impacts will be felt over a two-year period and beyond.
The study was generously funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies, Philip Morris USA – an Altria Company, and The William T. Grant Foundation. To read more about the School-Based Mentoring Study click here.
Hispanic Mentoring Program
Latinos make up about 14 percent of the nation’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than one-third of all Hispanics in the United States are under age 18. Over one-quarter of Hispanic children under 18 in the U.S. live in poverty.
We are committed to serving the needs of Hispanic children and families across the country.
The Hispanic Mentoring Program continues the Big Brothers Big Sisters tradition of outreach to at-risk youth by emphasizing the connection with Hispanic communities and the recruitment of Latino volunteers and Littles.
Through funding from the Goizueta Foundation, along with four other BBBS agencies, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NWGA Mtns. will target Hispanic middle and high school students to provide high-impact, one-to-one mentoring with the goal of keeping youth engaged and in school, as well as ready to enter post-secondary education and/or employment through our “Camino al Exito” initiative.
This initiative represents the next phase of Hispanic mentoring. Big Brothers Big Sisters seeks to develop a
deeper understanding of optimal points in the education process where mentoring services can provide youth the social capital they need to achieve in school and enter college.
“Camino al Exito” will test the core elements of this phase of Hispanic mentoring and mentoring as a whole.
These elements include:
- Productive partnerships with schools/education community
- Strong and enduring mentoring matches with Hispanic youth
- Parental engagement
- Effective community awareness
In integrating these components through this initiative, Big Brothers Big Sisters will strength the network of support around mentees and create a culture of academic and life success for Hispanic youth.
To learn more about the Hispanic Mentoring Program contact: Carmen Flammini 706-278-0702
Big Brothers Big Sisters of NWGA Mountains has also partnered with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to increase the number of Latinos enrolling in and graduating from college. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund believes that the country prospers when all Americans have access to the opportunities a college education can afford. As the nation’s leading Hispanic higher education fund, HSF works to address the financial and cultural barriers that keep many Latinos from earning a college degree.
HSF provides more college financial aid to the Hispanic community than any other organization in the country, with over $334 million in scholarships granted to date. HSF offers financial aid to graduating high-school seniors, community-college students seeking to transfer to four-year universities, continuing university students seeking to complete their degrees and to students in graduate and professional programs. For more information on HSF’s scholarship programs visit www.hsf.net.
In addition to scholarship opportunities for deserving Latino students, HSF offers a broad range of outreach and educational programming to help students and their families navigate through the rigors of college life.
For more information on the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, contact: Joanna Castillo 706-278-0702
Mentoring Children of Prisoners
There are an estimated 1.7 million children and youth in the United States have a least one parent in a State or Federal correctional facility.
The objective of the Mentoring Children of Prisoners program is to create quality, lasting one-to-one relationships that provide children of offenders with caring role models for future success. Mentors provide opportunities for youth to gain new skills and interests and expand their experiences beyond their families, schools, and neighborhoods by acting as a trusted friend. Research has shown that a quality, enduring mentoring relationship with a caring adult can be a promising intervention for children of prisoners.
There is clear and convincing evidence that children of prisoners are at increased risk for disengagement, behavior issues, academic challenges, substance abuse and criminal activity. Mentoring a child whose parent is incarcerated can help children by reducing their first-time drug and alcohol use, improving their relationships and academic performance, and reducing the likelihood that they will initiate violence. Mentors can provide these children with opportunities to develop a trusting relationship with a supportive, caring adult and a stable environment that can promote healthy values and strong families.
Below please find a link to pamphlets provided by “The Family and Corrections Network (FCN)” that offer an array of information to further assist you in your relationship. www.fcnetwork.org/resources/library/children-of-prisoners-library