Mission: BBBS of Northeast Florida began serving the children of Jacksonville in 1915. For over 90 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of children and youth, primarily through a professionally-supported One-to-One relationship with a caring adult, and to assist them in achieving their highest potential as they grow to become confident, competent and caring individuals, by providing committed volunteers, national leadership and standards of excellence. A national study of the BBBS program by Public/Private Ventures of Philadelphia, PA showed that a child in a BBBS mentoring relationship was 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol, 53 percent less likely to skip school, and 37 percent less likely to skip a class. They were more confident of their performance in schoolwork, less likely to hit someone, and were getting along better with their families. Additional studies have shown that mentoring can also eliminate many of the negative factors that growing up in poverty can cause for a child. Big Brothers Big Sisters program mentoring works.
Programs: In 1998, BBBS of NE Florida took a bold step forward in leading the Jacksonville community by launching a program in partnership with the NE Florida Mentoring Coalition called "The Kesler Mentoring Connection". The Delores Kesler Pass Foundation provided a first year lead gift of $100,000. Other partner funding agencies include the United Way of Northeast Florida and the Jacksonville Children's Commission. KMC will provide recruitment, screening, training and placement services for mentors and mentoring agencies throughout NE Florida. In 1994, BBBS of Northeast FL Jacksonville became a pioneer in the "school-based" mentoring effort. In our "Bigs in Schools" program, we take at-risk children, referred by the school, and match that child with an adult mentor. In this way, we are helping to better educate the at-risk child by spending 1-to-1 developmental time with that child for 1 hour each week. At the same time, our program allows the teacher to focus time on helping the other children in the classroom environment. Children of Promise is our third program that targets children with one or more parents incarcerated in state or federal prison. It is a "faith-based" program, recruiting volunteers from churches, synagogues and other religious organizations although anyone can volunteer.