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Since 1902, the mission of the Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers has been to address the challenges facing youth living in New York City’s low-income neighborhoods by providing one-to-one community based mentoring services, supported by family counseling and skill learning programs. We seek to improve the lives of children of all faiths, empowering them to recognize, reach for and achieve their full potential as self-sufficient adults.
We envision a strong and growing Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers where all our Littles graduate from high school and continue on to college or some other form of post high school education or career training. After successfully graduating from college, they embark on successful careers and become purposeful, contributing and compassionate adults and remain connected to the organization by becoming mentors, donors, advisors, and active members of the alumni association.
We further envision CBSBB as an organization with a strong, clear, cohesive organizational culture in which all stakeholders (Board, staff, Littles, Bigs and family members) share a common understanding of our mission, vision and core values and can, in their own words, articulate our mission, vision, values and what makes us unique as a mentoring organization. We see a CBSBB known throughout New York as a model program; a place where individuals, policy makers, foundations and other agencies visit when they want to learn how to do mentoring at its most effective.
We believe that all our decisions should positively impact the holistic growth of our Littles. Within this context:
- We value the transformative power of long-term, community-based mentoring relationships between a Big and a Little.
- We value the necessity of partnering with families who are instrumental in understanding our Littles and in fostering interdependent relationships.
- We value acquiring skills that lead to success in all areas of our lives, and view learning as a continuous, lifelong pursuit.
- We value promoting equality through self-reflection, open dialogue, and understanding difference in order to uphold the dignity and worth of all individuals.
- We value an organization built on trust, transparency and integrity where all voices are encouraged, listened to, and appreciated.
Over a century of experience has taught Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers that mentoring relationships are most effective when they are part of a program that provides comprehensive supportive services. CBSBB has created an innovative comprehensive service model that, in addition to direct support and training for all mentors, offers free, family systems counseling and skill building/college bound workshops and activities to its youth and their families.
CBSBB serves children ages 10-18, from low-income, mostly first generation immigrant families. Over 70% of the families we work with are headed by single mothers; 50% of the parents are unemployed or underemployed, and 70% live below the poverty line. Our families come from all neighborhoods in the four larger boroughs, with particular concentrations in the Lower East Side, Brooklyn, Harlem and the South Bronx. Client families identify themselves as 53% Hispanic, 31% African-American, 14% multi-ethnic/bi-racial, 1% Asian, and 1% Caucasian. Services are offered to all families without regard to religion or church affiliation.
The primary goal of our organization is to help children and youth become caring, involved, educated and self-sufficient adults. We achieve this goal by providing one-to-one mentoring augmented by strength-based, family systems counseling and skill building programming.
Boys and girls, ages 10-18, are carefully matched with a Big Sister or Big Brother who serves as an advisor, role model and adult friend. Matches meet together to do activities such as visiting museums, enjoying a show or ballgame, working together on service projects or spending time together talking and doing homework. This mentoring relationship is the core of CBSBB.
Using a family systems model, family members work together to identify the root causes of problems and initiate changes within the family as a whole, in support of the mentoring match. Once the Little is matched, CBSBB continues to provide counseling to families in need.
CBSBB offers a comprehensive set of workshops, activities, one-on-one support and referrals that begin on the first day a youth comes to CBSBB and ends, hopefully, with college graduation.
Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers accepts donations. Donate Now.