There's No Place Like Home
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, Inc.
The mission of the Big Brothers Big Sisters is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor-supported and volunteer-supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (Bigs) and children (Littles). Big Brothers Big Sisters partners with parents/guardians, volunteers and others in the community and holds themselves accountable for each child in the program achieving higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships, avoidance of risky behaviors, and educational success. Current programs include Community Based Mentoring, School Based Mentoring, Bigs with Badges, Big Duo, Friends and School to Work Program.
IMPACT 100 funds will be used to provide improvements to the Big Brothers Big Sisters new location on Creighton Road. The grant will allow the organization to complete non-construction improvements to the property, such as parking lot and roof repairs, building wash and painting, interior cabinetry and ceilings. In addition to building improvements, funds will be used to include a kitchen and multipurpose room, allowing for the purchase of furniture, kitchen equipment, and electronics (laptops, monitors, games, software, movie screen and a projector for educational workshops) for the new home. Lastly, the organization will be able to promote their vision via a new state of the art digital sign on a major thoroughfare of Pensacola where 26,000 cars pass daily. The site serves as a place where Bigs and Littles can grow, learn and develop free of the stresses of the outside world and in many cases, a Little’s own home environment. It will allow board members and staff to conduct business under one roof without having to work in strained conditions.
Big Brothers Big Sisters believes the project will strengthen and enhance the lives of those Littles they are serving in the Pensacola Bay area. When children and teens have the influence of a caring adult, they are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and to focus on academics. Today's youth face a variety of challenges and being matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister can help them navigate these challenges and reach their potential. The impact shows that Little Brothers and Little Sisters are 52% less likely to skip school, 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 33% less likely to use violence to solve problems and 27% less likely to begin using alcohol. In 2017, 616 children were served through the community-based and school-based mentoring programs. The new home is not just a work space, but it is also a place where the Littles can feel safe, be comforted and cherished. The Littles will have a waiting place to connect with the agency while waiting for their Big. Through educational software and resources, Bigs, Littles and parents regularly enhance their capacity to contribute to high-quality, long-lasting match relationships. The new space will allow Big Brothers and Big Sisters to expand activities, host graduation ceremonies, trainings for the Bigs prior to being “matched” with a Little and match anniversary celebrations. The new sign is expected to play a large role in increasing the number of volunteer inquiries leading to more children served, ultimately leading to more children having their best opportunity to succeed in life.