COMMUNITY BASED MENTORING
The core of BBBSM programs is community-based mentoring. Littles in need of a mentor are matched with a volunteer Big who develops and maintains a relationship, serving as a positive role model and source of reliable support. Matches are based on common interests, backgrounds, and aspirations allowing for a strong connection to grow over time. Bigs and Littles explore the local community and share fun activities they both enjoy at least twice a month for a minimum of four hours each time. Some Bigs meet their Littles on the weekends, while others meet in the evenings. Each match is unique and develops a schedule that works for them.
Bigs and Littles create memories to last a lifetime. BBBSM staff works with the Big and the Little’s family to encourage a continuous relationship and provide opportunities to participate in fun and engaging activities throughout the year. Staff also provide support for Bigs who may not know how to handle certain situations that may arise.
Similar to community-based mentoring, site-based mentoring creates one-on-one mentoring matches between Bigs and Littles. However, all mentoring activities take place at a designated site – either during the day at school, or at the Carnival Center for Excellence after school – for one hour each week. The match process and support, as well as the overall impact, is the same as that of community-based mentoring: each Little has a positive role model who offers support and guidance throughout the year. Mentoring activities can include reading, board games, sports, computer games, homework help, or a simple conversation.
School to Work is a one-to-one mentoring program providing high school students with career readiness and job-shadowing experiences at the Bigs’ place of work. School to Work allows organizations to give back to the community by hosting youth from a nearby high school at their offices.
GROUP ENGAGEMENT AND MENTORING
To meet the growing needs of the South Florida community, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami (BBBSM) offers Group Engagement and Mentoring (GEM) at our headquarters, the Carnival Center for Excellence. Carefully designed activities follow a set curriculum evidenced to have positive impacts on program participants. The effect of each program is defined through metrics that measure mentoring goals, which are evaluated before and after each GEM program.
Littles engage in the activities with a set cohort and a designated BBBSM AmeriCorps Member or staff member, who serves as the Big for the group. Other community volunteers are also invited to serve as Bigs in the GEM programs. For waitlist Littles – those who are waiting to be matched with a Big in the core one-to-one mentoring program – GEM serves as a safe and positive environment.
CONTINUING EDUCATION & SCHOLARSHIPS
In collaboration with Take Stock in Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami’s Continuing Education program is committed to giving Littles tools for a lifetime of success by providing a comprehensive range of services.
Supported by BBBSM’s Continuing Education staff, the program outlines carefully structured goals for high school students and includes guidance related to:
-Preparing students for standardized testing
-College applications and enrollment
-Finances in higher education
-Post-secondary scholarship awards
In addition, all high school-aged Littles, their Bigs, and parents are invited to regular college-readiness programming throughout the school year. Once enrolled in college, BBBSM is committed to the success of our students by providing further support services to make sure students graduate college and get on track for their careers.
Thanks to our generous donors, the Continuing Education program provides over $3 million in scholarship money every year to our local youth who have shown the determination to invest in their future. With the combined efforts of our Five Millers Continuing Education Program and Take Stock in Children, an average of 250 high seniors a year receive between $500-$20,000 in scholarship money for post-secondary education, and many recipients are the first in their family to attend college. Learn more about our funding partners below.
At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami (BBBSM), we foster a sense of community and belonging. When our Littles graduate from our programs, so do our Bigs – but that does not mean they graduate from our family!
Our alumni program engages individuals who were previously a Big or a Little. As a BBBSM alumnus/a, you are a part of a network of over 65,000 children and another 65,000 mentors who have gone through our program over the last 60+ years!
BBBSM develops future leaders, strengthens families, and builds community. We:
- Match at-risk youth (Littles) with professionally supported adult mentors (Bigs)
- Provide at our Carnival Center for Excellence tools and programs that help Littles both learn and have fun
- Develop mentorship programs with evidence-based models known to have a lasting impact on children’s lives
- Are considered the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s Gold Standard of mentoring
- Are recognized by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as a proven prevention strategy
- Driven to make Miami a safe haven where children can grow and thrive, we have developed a network of strategic partnerships with local businesses and community organizations. We know that together we can do big things
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami:
- Is one of the 30 largest Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates in the country
- Serves more than 4,000 children and teens each year, but thousands of children more need a mentor
- Touches more than 10,000 lives every year
- Serves the 4th largest school district in the United States
BBBSM’s global strategy is aligned with the Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal initiative (OCOG). OCOG’s goal is to strengthen and diversify Miami-Dade County’s economy through collaboration among a wide range of industries.
BBBSM has proved successful in serving as an educational driver and in empowering youth to reach their full potential, furthering the opportunities for young people to join the local economy as educated and goal-oriented young professionals and community-oriented citizens. BBBSM paves the way for future economic success through a continuum of Mentorship, Scholarship, Internship, and Citizenship. Through this holistic approach, BBBSM helps youth improve academic performance, develop strong interpersonal skills, and gain essential life skills to empower them to succeed.