Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County

Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County connects 1,800 children aged 7-18 to long-term, professionally supported 1:1 mentoring relationships. Mentoring is an investment in the heart of a child. No fancy gadgets necessary; just a child and adult spending face to face time together.

Location: San Diego , CA
Year founded: 1961


About Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County

Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County is a one-to-one youth mentoring organization that connects children and teens from vulnerable, disenfranchised populations to volunteer mentors known as "Big Brothers" and "Big Sisters" to reap the benefits of long term, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring. We believe wholly in the innate ability of a child and that the best way to help a child or young adult reach their fullest potential is through a supported, profound one-to-one mentoring relationship. We are different from other youth serving organizations who provide group-based programming, subject tutoring, general after school supervision or are focused on one specific outcome (e.g., college acceptance). Instead, we adopt a holistic approach, working to strengthen a child's social, academic and behavioral capabilities. "Bigs" (mentors) are "matched" with a child ("Little") for a one-year minimum; each is supported by a degreed staff specialist and commit to meeting 2-4 times per month for a minimum of 4 hours. The long term nature allows for a trusting friendship to develop. A "Big" serves as a model for how to make safe, healthy and productive choices and provides a child new perspective on life outside of what they see each day through their family or community. 

In addition to our traditional "community mentoring" model, we have designed programming to meet the specific needs of our local community including:

Operation Bigs - one-to-one mentoring for military children with a parent serving in the Navy or Marine Corps.

Beyond School Walls - workplace mentoring for middle school students. Kids visit their mentor at work twice per month for one-to-one mentoring plus a guided curriculum designed to teach the soft skills (e.g., eye contact, body language, appearance) needed to succeed in the workforce but rarely taught.

High School Bigs - cross age peer mentoring that pairs high school students with elementary students for weekly after school mentoring focused on fostering youth leadership and community involvement.

In 2015 we connected 1,800 children with a caring, committed mentor for a total of more than 72,000 hours of one-to-one mentoring!

How your organization could partner with BBBS of San Diego County:

We sincerely value our philanthropic partners. Your investment in our program guarantees another child can be moved off our waitlist and be "matched" with a mentor, role model, guide and friend. At any given time 300-350 children, mostly minorities and boys, are waiting for a "Big". Children with non-English speaking parents wait the longest due to the need for a bilingual mentor to ensure child safety. Women volunteer at a rate of about 7:1 compared to men, however over 70% of families who approach us for help are looking for a Big Brother for a young boy.

Whether you invest in a specific program or our larger and broader Community Mentoring initiative, the impact of your donation will be seen immediately through new mentoring relationships and for much time to come. While we require a minimum of one year for our families and volunteers, these are friendships that quickly transcend and we have many Bigs and Littles who celebrate two, five and even ten year anniversaries! 

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