My first little brother was 12 years old and in foster care. Today he is 21 and beginning his third year in the U.S. Navy. I could not be prouder of his beginning success in life considering the many obstacles he faced as a young man. Today I mentor his six year old brother. We've become part of the family. I have been a volunteer with the organization for eight years and have never met a finer group of people dedicated to helping our community's at-risk youth. My own experiences as a two-time mentor have been eye-opening and life changing!
In addition to volunteering, I have served on the organization's Ambassador Board for eight years, and on the Board of Directors for not quite a year.
Oregon has an on-time high school graduation rate of 68%--the nation's second worst. Students mentored by Big Brothers Big Sisters have a 95% rate of on-time graduation from high school. It's a program that makes a lifetime of difference for our area's children.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest was voted Oregon's #1 most admired nonprofit for 2014 by 500 of Oregon's top CEOs in a survey conducted by the Portland Business Journal.
Review from Guidestar
I have been a Big Sister for two months. I am matched in a school based program, and meet my Little Sister, "Maya" once a week at her school during her lunch/recess. I have found the staff to be very professional, helpful and knowledgeable. I would recommend Big Brothers Big Sisters to anyone who wants to really make a difference in the life of a child!
I have been matched with my Little Brother, "V", since November 2010 in the School-Based program. In this program, V and I meet up once a week during his lunch/recess time at school. During those time, we either go outside and play basketball or throw a football around (something he and I have been practicing on as we're both not great at this). When it's raining, we stay inside and usually play Uno or checkers - both of which allow him to focus on an activity while opening up little by little each week. Overall, it's been great seeing him have a good time and look forward to our outings. It's also helped me with my patience and to stay up-to-date on the world of a 4th grader.
I have been a board member for less than 6 months; but, already my experience has exceeded expectations thanks to the committed and compassionate staff; quality of programs and partnerships; and also to my new "little brother" Felix!
If haven't checked out the Sports Buddies program, you really need to. My Little Brother and I were able to be a part of the Timbers opening game thanks to the program. I'm looking forward to other sporting events that are being made available to us.
My "Little Sister" is in 5th grade, and we have so much fun together. I am a busy professional with two boys at home, but look forward to seeing her. We do fun things like crafts, attend events, go to movies, cook, make jewelry, take pictures and attend events sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest. She has not had an easy year though; her grandmother died two months ago, and one of her siblings has a serious drug problem. The family as a whole has benefitted from the referrals to social service agencies in the area to help them with grief counseling, free legal advise, and AlAnon. My Little Sister amazes me, she always tries to see the best in people. We laugh and hang out together and sometimes the best thing I can do is listen and be there for her. Thanks for the opportunity!
I am excited to become a "Big" with Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest. This organization serves an 8-county region covering Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, providing caring mentors who really make a difference in the lives of the children they mentor. I believe passionately that we really can change lives, one child at a time, and that the experience of bonding with a caring adult mentor outside of the child's immediate family has a positive effect that will change that child's life. I'm proud to support Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest and urge you to join me!