Changing perspectives. Changing lives.
Statistically, children growing up in one-parent homes experience significant increased risk, particularly in the areas of education, illegal activity, and suicide. While these youth make up about 25% of the total number of school-aged youth (approximately 80,000) in the Kansas City metropolitan area, they account for 90% of juvenile court cases, 90% of high school dropouts, and 60% of teen suicides.
BBBSKC believes that youth who have a positive adult influence in his or her life are better able to reach their full potential. These one-to-one friendships, or “matches”, last a minimum of one year. BBBSKC’s average match length is 27 months, which is significantly longer than the national average match length of 20 months. BBBSKC offers at-risk children a long-term developmental relationship with a caring adult. Bigs serve as friends, mentors and role models, helping youth gain greater self-confidence and leadership skills. This model has been proven effective in changing the self-image of the child and therefore his or her behavior.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters Mission: To create and support life-changing friendships for children
The Big Brothers Big Sisters Vision: To create positive change within our community through the power of one-to-one mentoring.
All BBBSKC matches are characterized by four elements that most mentoring programs do not feature:
- Buy-in of the client and parent: All clients and guardians are interviewed and their homes are assessed. During this process the child and the guardian agree that they want and will participate in the program.
- Professional supervision: Intake of client and adult, screening and training of the adult, creating matches, and supervision during the relationship is conducted by professional Case Managers who combine assessment, management, coaching and guidance to all parties.
- Longevity: This relationship is unique and different for each match, thus it takes time to develop. BBBS volunteers commit to 2-4 hours per week for a minimum of one year.
- Developmental relationships: BBBSKC creates friendships between adults and youth. These naturally developing friendships are highly valuable to the child, as the adult is willing to share their time and include the child in day-to-day activities.
BBBSKC is one of the fastest growing Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in the country and has been named the Agency of the Year, out of 400 network affiliates three out of the last four years.