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The Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth, primarily 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 responsible men and women by providing committed volunteers, national leadership and standards of excellence.
Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters provides community-based and school-based mentoring programs designed to assist children through their formative years, and ultimately help them become productive citizens within our community. Our overall goal is to facilitate a nurturing mentoring relationship that results in increased self-esteem, school performance and decision making skills. We recruit, screen, and train prospective mentors and maintain regular contact with the mentor, parent and child once a match is made. Adult mentors are titled "Big Brothers" and "Big Sisters" and agree to meet with a child between the ages of 5 and 12 ("Little Brothers" and "Little Sisters") at least two times per month for at least one year. Our mentors provide one-to-one interactions, tutoring, mentoring and experiential activities such as interactive games, craft and art projects, holiday parties and other recreational activities.
In all of our matches, we have consistently found that what mattered most to these children were not the activities, but the fact that they had a caring adult in their lives. They had a positive and trustworthy role model to confide in and look up to. It is through these mentoring relationships that children begin to truly believe in themselves because their "Big Brother" or "Big Sister" believes in them. These "Big" and "Little" relationships create life-long bonds and friendships that are simply immeasurable.
- Kimberly Weeks
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