What is Community-Based Mentoring?

By Carlie Boswell, Enrollment and Match Coordinator

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands has been around for 60 years. In that span of time, the agency has had both Community-Based and Site-Based mentoring programs. A Site-Based program is when the mentor and mentee meet at a designated location for their time spent together, such as a children’s center or school. Through the Community-Based program, matches meet 2-4 times a month for a total of 4 hours spent together. They have the opportunity to strengthen their friendship while out exploring the community they call home. There is no specific time when they have to meet, nor is there a location they need go to. Instead, the Big and Little are able to partake in new adventures and gain experiences they might not normally have the chance to enjoy. Years ago, guided by research outcomes, our organization decided to focus solely on our Community-Based program.

Through our program, Bigs and Littles get to explore the Omaha metro area with one another; anything from trying a new coffee shop to racing each other up a rock climbing wall. A new Big Sister to our program, who had previously volunteered through a Site-Based program, told me she was eager for the chance to try new things with her Little Sister in Omaha and teach her about places she deems as her personal favorites. A Big Brother, who recently moved to Omaha, expressed how fun it was to learn about our city through outings with his Little Brother. BBBS’ Community-Based mentoring outcomes have shown youth avoiding risky behaviors, improving their academic achievement and indicated a higher quality in relationships with parents/guardians and peers. Be curious about the city you live in and seize the opportunity to see it through your Little’s eyes.

 “Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” Randy Pausch

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