Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan

Cause Area

  • Children & Youth
  • Community


900 East Front StreetSuite 125Traverse City, MI 49686 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement


To provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better.



Serves At-Risk Children in 5 Counties in Northwestern Michigan

  • Works within community and with partners to engage with families, volunteers, and donors to serve children facing adversity

  • Helps children facing adversity achieve measurable outcomes leading to lifelong success


  • Services Since 1970’s

  • Community-based and school-based mentoring opportunities

  • Serve over 300 Mentoring Relationships Per Year in Community-based and School-based programs

  • Goal: to serve 500 children per year by 2018

What is BIGS?

A preventative 'one-to-one’ mentoring program utilizing paid professional staff and volunteer mentors who help at-risk children between the ages of 6 and 18 reach their full potential.

What does BIGS do?

Develop and nurture relationships for at-risk kids with a caring adult that will provide children with proper attention, guidance and opportunities to help them become more stable, responsible and productive citizens.

How does BIGS do this?

The paid professional case management staff at Bigs conducts background checks, interviews and trains Bigs. Similarly, interviews are conducted with Littles and their parent(s). Based on information gathered during the interviews, the case manager will facilitate a match between the adult mentor and a child who would successfully benefit from the relationship. All relationships are then monitored according to rigorous standards of practice set forth by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

To be a School Based Big:

  • For high school students to mentor, they must be at least a freshman in High School (dependent upon school)
  • For adults to mentor the minimum age is 18 years old
  • The commitment is for one calendar school year or from the date of the match through the remaining school year
  • Big and Little meet once per week typically during the Little’s lunch period (sometimes during after school programs)

To be a Community Based Big:

  • The minimum age to be a Big is 18 years old
  • The commitment is for a six-month period
  • Big and Little meet a minimum of one to two times per month and a maximum of once per week

What do the Bigs and Littles do together?

  • spend time together - caring and sharing - talking and listening to each other.
  • go places: the zoo, the movies, concerts, restaurants, museums, sporting events, hiking, camping, community events, etc.
  • play games together, participate in sports.
  • participate in special projects: baking, sewing, arts and crafts, building models, etc.
  • visit in the child’s school to enhance social skills and academic success.

When an adult spends time with a child simply because he cares, the result is improved self-concept, which in turn nurtures responsibility, success, and happiness.

How does the program benefit youth and the Community?

Families grow stronger. Children become responsible, productive citizens able to achieve educational and professional success. Communities are safer and business benefits from a better prepared workforce, resulting in a better economy.


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