Daily Point of Light # 2594 Jan 14, 2004

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff (BBBSF) has served thousands of people in the Coconino County region with its mission, “to help children succeed by matching them with appropriate adult mentors.” They provide youth with tools to develop important life skills, as well as mentors with the training and support necessary to serve as role models to the “littles.”

Big Brothers of Flagstaff was founded in 1968, and Big Sister of Northern Arizona was founded 1976. They merged in 1999 and became BBBSF. This agency is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is associated with the United Way of Northern Arizona.

BBBSF addresses children’s need for positive relationships with caring adults. The majority of the little sisters and brothers are from single parent homes and may have other potential risk factors. Seventy percent of the mentees and 22% of the mentors represent minority populations. Mentoring is one of the best-known activities for building children’s confidence, competence and caring, and they do it with four successful programs.

Community Based Mentoring (CBM) is a 35-year old mentoring program serving 350 community members in 175 matches with 56 children on a waiting list. Little brothers and sisters are between 6 and 15 years old and meet with their adult mentors for at least two hours each week.

Vision in Progress (VIP) is a 15-year old mentoring program involving up to 30 court-referred youth and children on the BBBSF waiting list, in an after school recreation program with adult supervisors. VIP provides a safe place with structured activities for the participants, and has an outstanding track record for reducing recidivism; to date, only one participant in/from the VIP program returned to the juvenile system while in the program. The VIP activities include but are not limited to hiking, sports, art and creative writing.

Pipeline NAU is a seven-year-old mentoring program that matches 20 seventh grade students from first generation, college-bound families with 20 Northern Arizona University faculty members. This started in 1997 and the first class began this fall with GPA’s of 3.0 or better. These mentees will become big sisters or big brothers themselves when they are sophomores in college.

School Based Mentoring (SBM) is a five-year-old program that partners adult mentors with 1st through 6th grade students in an after school program where matches meet for two hours a week for 20 weeks each school. Currently, the program provides a safe place for more than 100 children in seven elementary schools who participate in structured activities that are recreational, health-based, community-based or academic.