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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Children & Youth

Mission: To provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Results: *98% graduate from high school. *95% drop drugs, alcohol and tobacco *53% feel better about themselves *47% get better report cards

Target demographics: Disadvantaged children ages 6-18

Direct beneficiaries per year: 450 children, ages 6-18

Geographic areas served: Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties

Programs: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay provides professional counselors who interview, screen and carefully match the children and adults in the program. We ask that volunteers are residents of the area, 18 years old or older, and able to see their Little Brother or Sister three times a month for a minimum of one year.

The counselors monitor the matches and are available for consultation at all times.

Activities are provided for those who wish to participate.

These relationships allow volunteers to give back to their community while positively impacting the lives of youth.

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

56 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a Big Sister in College, 45 years ago, to a girl with Downs Syndrome. I signed up this time 1 1/2 years ago but did not start until three months ago due to dealing with my son's Mental Illness and suicide seven months ago. I was hoping for a 6-year-old Spanish speaking boy of a single parent household (like mine) who attends our neighborhood school. My "Little", Cesar is exactly what I had been hoping for, and more, and he has brought me immeasurable joy, especially now during my profound grief. We have a lot of fun together going to swimming lessons, playing with my dogs, feeding ducks, and going to the library so he can use the computer. We read together, play at the park, play soccer, make and write cards, visit horses and eat a lot of ice cream and his favorite, hot chocolate. We were very fortunate to receive a scholarship from Big Brothers and Sisters so I could obtain swimming lessons, group and private, for Cesar and we will soon be swimming in my pool with my dogs! We had a fantastic time on the Boat Cruise where Cesar was able to steer the boat for 20 minutes! The program provided Cesar with his first bike, and also one for his brother who has Autism. The program provides other activities-can't wait for the Family Picnic, that his Mother would not be able to afford. They also give a wide range of ideas of activities for us to do together that are free. In the training they give a lot of information on child development, what our role is and how to handle difficult situations. I am so grateful to our Counselor, Tania, who made a perfect match for us and keeps me constantly informed of events and sends pictures that have been taken of us. I cannot say enough about what Cesar has meant to me in my life, and our relationship continues to blossom. He has opportunities that he would otherwise not have and I get this new energetic, open, talkative, affectionate, smart child in my life. The only drawback is having to say I cannot take his brother with us because he is not in the program. It breaks our hearts to leave him behind. We desperately need more volunteers and we need full time staff to continue to do a great job. I had spent 35 years as a Clinical Social Worker with a very rewarding career and 35 years volunteering in different capacities. This has, by far, been at the top of my experiences and I hope others will consider becoming involved. It is extremely rewarding.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been a great experience working with BBBS North Bay. I was matched with my "Little" more than a year ago. There have been numerous events arranged by BBBS that were free of any charge. They included a Bay cruise, a picnic, an airplane ride, fishing, visiting a ranch, and bowling. They work to make both "Big" and "Little" experiences memorable and lasting. Definitely worth an inquiry if you want to spend time with a child in need.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In January 2015, I became a Big Brother through Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the North Bay. During the 80's and early 90's, I had been a Big Brother and had thoroughly enjoyed having a little brother for 9 years.

In this recent experience (2015), the application process was seamless yet very thorough. The staff at the agency was professional, competent and thorough. During the match process, I experienced the same level of professionalism and competence.

During the past eighteen months, my match with my little brother has been extremely rewarding. The professional staff contacts me regularly for feedback and offers assistance on any issue (although there have not been any issues). I feel completely supported by the agency and believe that they are extremely competent.

I enjoy every outing with my little brother, Erick. Whether we play soccer, basketball, baseball, football, tennis or enjoy a pizza, Jamba Juice or hot chocolate, we have a fabulous time. He is a delightful youngster.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the North Bay does an excellent job in every respect. My experience with the Agency, the match and the professionals at the Agency has been fantastic.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Big Brother for approximately 5 years and have thoroughly enjoyed the program from all aspects. I was matched with my Lil Bro when he was 10, and we’ve remained in close contact ever since. I did not have children of my own, so this experience has taught me a tremendous amount and I appreciate all he has done for me, by just being himself.
The match process was clearly thought out, thorough, and well executed. Each and every one of the counselors I’ve worked with has been very supportive and responsive. There was one time that I needed their assistance, and without a doubt they handled it promptly and professionally, which reinforced the overall efficacy of the BBBS program in my mind.
I have also become a BBBS Ambassador in order to support the program however I can, and to provide assistance to the counselors in their recruiting efforts, especially for the male gender. Because I have a good working relationship and the utmost respect for the counselors in this program, it makes my additional volunteer work with them very easy.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is truly helping young persons who just need an adult presence other than a parent or in addition to a parent with an adult who also might need a youthful perspective or a little more fun in his life.

1 David357

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got involved with BBBS of the NB back in 2009 when I was matched with my little. Its been an outstanding experience so far. The match process was detailed and it took more than 3 months for the staff to find the right "little." They really try to make a good match. The time with him flies by and we never run out of things to do. BBBS has many opportunities for activities and great outings. Most of the time we just play catch or go to the driving range. The support from the staff is consistent and always there. I'm thankful for my time volunteering at this organization.

1 Moxie S.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I started my relationship with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay January of 2016. I was paired up with my little sister and was surprised at how well the organization did with matching us. We have so much in common with likes, dislikes and some personal experiences, which made establishing our relationship that much faster. We both genuinely enjoy our time together! I joined the program thinking I would be able to give back to my community and provide value as another person in my little's network to help guild and inspire this young girl. To my surprise, my little is contributing so much to my life and this experience if off to a wonderful start! Paula Hampton

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My doggie, Truman, just loves my Little, Stephanie Lopez! He loves her almost as much as I do. The first time I met Stephanie, I knew she was the perfect one for me! She was 7, now she is 11. We have had sooo many wonderful adventures and experiences together. We have ice skated at Snoopys, played games, painted and drawn, finished puzzles and gone to the symphony and parks, etc.
Every minute with her is a joy, and she still is the most perfect girl for me- and I believe I am perfect for her. She draws pictures thanking me for being her Big. I thank God for her!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been meeting with my Little Sister for 7 years as her Big Sister, starting in Aug. 2009. My Little was 10 years old then, and now she's 17. The first years of my Little's high school career were spent failing classes.It was very frustrating since I know how smart she is.

With help from many adults in my Little's life, including myself, she was admitted to a Legacy Program which is a self contained classroom, an alternative high school program. She's attending all her classes, getting "good grades" and has a good chance of graduating at the end of her senior year. Our BBBS counselor, Tania, has been a big help when there have been some situations with my Little or when speaking to her Spanish speaking mother is needed.

My Little has gone though some traumas and continues to deal with the aftermath of those, but she seems to know that I'm "there for her" and a trusted, consistent adult in her life. BBBS has allowed for opportunities to have fun with a young adult and to be as important to her life as she is to mine.

3 mgitiha

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a 'big sister' in December last year. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to impact my little sister positively by sharing time together and exposing her to new experiences. For the few months we have been together, I have received great feedback from her mom and how happy she is that I am in her daughter's life. Sometimes you do not realize a small thing/gesture you do means so much to them. BBBS organization is very well ran with such committed counselors and staff to support the 'big' and 'little' relationship. It is really a labor of love from them. I have a ten year old daughter and she already told me she wants to be a big sister when she grows up. It is a win-win situation for me and all involved. I hope more and more people support this great organization.

1 Ayla Q.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined BBBS North Bay as a Big Sister in June 2015. The application process was thorough, but easy to understand and I felt like I had plentiful support. Interviews with BBBS staff made me feel comfortable with the process, and helped me feel like my concerns were heard and valued. I think the whole process took less than a month and I was matched with an 8-year old Little Brother as of July 1st.

It's early in our match and my Little Brother and I are still getting to know each other. Our BBBS staff does monthly check-ins to make sure everything is going well, and we get frequent communications on fun activities available for us to participate in. I will be surprising my little brother with a trip to Six Flags this week to celebrate our 1-year Matchiversary!

I wanted to be a Big Sister so I could help children; I wanted to be the person I needed when I was a kid. I feel like BBBS is helping me achieve that. And both my Little Brother and I are learning, growing, and having a lot of fun in the process!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an active "big" for 13 years. Rigo--my first "little"--was homeless, 13 years old and failing in school when we met. We worked together for about 9 years and I got to participate in the life changes of a transformed young man. By the time he turned 21 he had already worked for Safeway for 5 years, he had a place to live and money in the bank. We did many projects in my wood shop over the years. One Christmas my grandchildren had asked for a toy kitchen. I had a photo from a catalogue and I asked him to figure out what we needed to do to make a copy of the stove. He was about 15. (The system had labeled him as border line retarded.) He studied that picture for about 15 minutes and then he said "This is nothing but a box." I thought that was a stroke of genius because it was a fancy box with lots of trim and doors. He recognized it right away. I argued with his counselors and they agreed to re-test him. A few weeks late they agreed with me. It immediately changed his life. He was transferred to a much better school and graduated at 18. We stayed in touch for another 3 years when he graduated himself.
I went back to the BBBS office and volunteered to do it again. My new "little" Alex is the polar opposite in may ways. He lives with his grandmother and brother. She provides a good home and a middle class life, but not much love. Alex handles adversity well--like fights with his older brother and a crabby grandmother. I like to think my place is a refuge for him away from all the normal pressures. He also has taken to the wood shop. He has learned to drive the tractor and has done a good job of tilling my small orchard. I try to provide him with experiences that will either support him or develop his confidence.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters changes lives. It's a win-win organization that supports our future children and allows mentors to make a positive impact on little brothers and sisters who grow up to be all they can be for the better. I have the great opportunity to be a support for my little who actually through our experiences shared together have made both of us realize that life is to have fun, help others, and give back to others. I have learned many things through the mentorship program. Life is too precious to not want to share it with others and along the way, you learn so much about another person and yourself. You allow yourself to have an open heart and your little looks up to you as a role model. I want to encourage you to participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters to experience life with a little that actually has a bigger heart and smile than you can imagine.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so grateful for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay, Inc. I was a volunteer with BBBS in another state, and when I first moved to the North Bay area, I was eager to find out whether BBBS existed in my new hometown. I was overjoyed to find out that it does exist here and that the program seeking additional mentors. I have been honored to have been matched to a wonderful young person and I am convinced that this program is essential for youth in any community where the program exists. The involvement of the volunteers, young people and their familes, as well as the support of the BBBS staff, makes a difference in the lives of everyone involved. BBBS of the North Bay covers a HUGE geographical area, and I am constantly in awe that the program staff remain accessible and deeply committed to the matches. It is my hope that this organization continues to thrive and serve young people throughout the area for many years to come.

1 Mary426

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm loving being a big sister. It's a great opportunity to support my community and have a lot of fun at the same time. BBBS has so many ways to make my role easier - affiliate organizations donate tickets and offer their time to enrich the life of my little! Love it

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My little sister and I have been dating for nine years. She is now 15. She says that when she gets to be 18 she wants to be a big sister. That is a testament to this program.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dear Big Brothers,
I want to write and affirm the importance of the Big Brother/Big Sisters programs from the perspective of a former Big Brother.
In 1972 I had the good fortune to apply to Big Brothers to be a mentor and was assigned a young man (age 12) who had just been released from a stint in the County Juvenile Correctional Center. My ‘little brother’ (LB) was a soft spoken young man who came from a large but fatherless family and who had run afoul with the law. LB didn’t say very much and it was hard to know what he was thinking or feeling, but that didn’t keep us from a variety of activities such as movies, dinners out, a couple of seasons crewing in sailboat regattas and of course, time spent on homework.
After a couple of years together, LB’s father returned to the family which unfortunately required the end of our formal relationship. Nevertheless, I learned LB went on to obtain his GED, participate in a Vision Quest experience in Death Valley (similar to one I too experienced), trained to become an electrician and eventually establish his own electrician’s business. Today LB is happily married with two beautiful daughters and a phenomenal son and he has established himself as a wonderful husband, father, professional and upstanding member in his community.
I think it’s fair to say that one never truly knows the impact one has on another’s life, but I believe our time together in the Big Brother program was positive for the two of us and hopefully, indirectly, positive for LB’s siblings too. What I do know for sure is that I, as a mentor, greatly benefited from our relationship; a relationship which helped me to be a better father when I had sons of my own. My participation in the Big Brother program has allowed me to feel as though I have added some positive energy to the collective good and too, to feel privileged to say that I know this fine man.
Stockton
Bolinas

Review from Guidestar

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with BBBS about a year ago. They do extensive interviews and training, and it took 7-8 months until they found the perfect match for me. They take matching Bigs and Littles very seriously - they want to ensure compatibility. Once a match was found, we met each other with the help of our counselor. She had an ice breaker game prepared to help us get more comfortable with each other. Over the last 5 months my little and i have spent almost every Sunday afternoon together, going to movies, doing art projects, or visiting the humane society. I can see how i am adding to this 12 year old's life - by giving her a chance to ask questions, have some fun, and get away from her three brothers! But most importantly, the Big Sister experience has had an enormous effect on me. I lost my husband two years ago, and having a Little in my life is extremely rewarding. It is so easy to make a big difference in a child's life.

Review from Guidestar

2

Donor

Rating: 5

The Big Brothers Big Sisters organization is full of committed people who care for the future of our children. Many lives have been changed for the better because of their involvement with BBBS. Not just the kids, which the impact is profound, but also the mentors.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BBBSNB is an amazing nonprofit because it's first consideration is for the children and mentors involved. I have been a big for over 5 years and can attest to the excellent attention given to the relationships of the matches. The counselors on staff communicate with the child, parent and mentor matched on a regular basis. They resolve any issues that develop throughout the match and consequently have been awarded at the national level for their longevity. They also provide monthly lists of activities along with ways the bigs can connect to support each other and their littles through this experience. As a big, I have learned compassion and empathy and my little knows there is someone who cares and values them. Thank you BBBSNB for providing an outstanding community service.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been fortunate to serve as a Big for nine years and the staff, expertise and attitude of BBBS North Bay is outstanding and has been extremely helpful in navigating and ultimately strengthening my relationship with my Little.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We came to BBBS after my husband died. At age 7 my son Matt was matched with John and it enhanced his life. Together they have gone on many adventures, worked on lots of projects and crafts, spent time discovering Sonoma county and San Francisco and have developed a great relationship that has lasted beyond the allotted time and continues today as Matt joins John to mentor a new Little Brother. I have really enjoyed watching them grow together as a team and I especially appreciate John for giving Matt the opportunities and experiences that he would otherwise have missed growing up.
My daughter Emily was also matched for a few years with Jamie and they bonded instantly. They spent lots of time outdoors discovering nature and they both enjoyed creating jewelry and other art projects. Jamie was working on her teaching credentials at the time and went on to become Emily's 5th & 6th grade teacher!
Thank you BBBS for your support for our family!

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

BBBS changed my life tremendously. I was matched with my big brother John when I was only 6 years old. I am now 23 and I feel truly privileged to still have John in my life. We still see each other frequently and have even added a new Little Brother to the mix. The three of us have all gained valuable friendship and stability in our lives thanks to this organization.

Programs like this really make a difference in people's lives.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with a number of youth organizations throughout the years and can honestly say that Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay has (by far) had the greatest impact on my life. My little brother is the best. We've been matched for 5 years and, even though he is now a busy teenager, we still fund time to get together. This young man has endured some tremendous traumas in his life, leading to difficulties in school and a stressful family life. Despite this, I have always known he would have a bright future. He is starting to understand that now too. He is doing better in school, has career aspirations, and is a role model among his friends. I look forward to spending time with my little; mountain biking, bowling, or going on walks with our dogs. I look forward to being at my little's graduation next year and am very thankful to BBBS of the North Bay for providing a catalyst for changing young lives.

Review from Guidestar

1 Jolie B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

BBBS has provided not only a mentor for my son, but a life-long friend who has really become like family. They have been matched for five years now and BBBS has shown nothing but care, fun and professionalism. Our involvement with BBBS has been one of the best things to happen to our famlily!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What an amazing BBBS chapter we have here in North Bay! I was a “Big” for 5 years and was able to see the impact of this organization on the life of my “Little” as well as so many others in this program. The love, attention, exposure and guidance given to the children in this program will continuously positively impact their lives and the future of our community.

My horizons have broaden as a result of being a BIG and I’ve made amazing new friends with other BIGs as well.

This is a great organization to be a part of for children and adults alike.
- Beth

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of The North Bay for over six years as both a volunteer and a donor. I am always impressed by how the organization runs, the leadership, and the huge Board commitment. The Board is exemplary, committed, and thinks outside the box. The employees are a dedicated group, and the counselors are amazing despite diverse children and volunteers. BBBS of the NorthBay provides the framework for incredible adults with amazing life experiences, to share their lives with children. in my experience, the verdict is still out on how my "Little" will fare in this world, but I hope that showing her my life will give her another perspective.

Review from Guidestar

1 Terry G.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay for over a decade. First as a mentor Big for 3 boys. Secondly, I have supported the organization as a donor and a volunteer. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides at-risk kids with a mentor that can significantly alter the course of their life.

When I first met my current Little, Jose, he was very shy and awkward around new people. We were at the Sonoma County Air Museum, walking back to the car when a couple of girls greeted us with an enthusiastic “Hello!” I replied back but Jose didn’t even acknowledge them. When I asked why, he replied, “They weren’t talking to me.” Today, he is quite comfortable speaking to new people including adults that he has just met for the first time.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Little and I just celebrated the 1 year mark for our participation in BBBS. It's been an honor to spend time and learn about the challenges my Little faces. It's exciting to see a report like the Impact Study which showed that kids who participate in BBBS are better able to get along with their families, less likely to skip school, less likely to start using illegal drugs, and more confident in their school performance. I'm witnessing that firsthand. I'm thankful to BBBS program for connecting us so that I may make an impact in my community and be a mentor.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has had a Big Brother for the past 6 years. As a single mom I have often worried about my son's lack of make role models, but having a big Brother had helped him immensely. My son has learned better social skills and now feels comfortable talking to all types of people. I also know that when my son is having a problem he sometimes talks to his Big Brother, it gives me peace of mind to know that he is talking to a trusted adult. This program had been a great support for my family.

Review from Guidestar

1 May M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I signed my son up for BBBS. Tania was very kind & helped to quickly sign him up. In less than a month my son was blessed to have a Big Brother to be a positive male role model in his life. He now has a Big that spends quality time with him in fun outdoor activities & gives him someone to confide in. This is a great organization, it helps me as a single parent to build my son up & provide a positive outlet that he would otherwise lack.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son is a participant in the program. His Big Brother has made a huge impact in our lives. He now has a positive male role model and is able to experience new things.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered as a 'Big' for almost 5 years and can assure you that they are accountable and that my 'Little' had no other services available to him as effective. While I can't speak for my 'Little' I can say that I had deeply fulfilling experience. This is truly a remarkable organization and that's why I believe strongly in their mission to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to one relationships and they do change lives for the better. I highly recommend them.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 10 year old son has a Big Brother through the BBBS and I am forever greatfull. My son has no brothers or sisters, no cousins , no father, nothing. Just me, his mom. I do everything I can to provide for my son but Having a big brother as someone else he can talk to and hang out with is amazing. It is truly a blessing to be a part of this program. My sons favorite time was when they took all the bigs and littles fishing. They had so much fun. The staff is careing and when you start with the BBBS they are always checking in with you to make sure everything is going well . Thank you BBBS!!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with BBBS for more than 9 years as a big sister. I have a "Little" who's turning 18 next year. Throughout our 9 year relationship, I've been guided by BBBS's able staff. I have no doubt that my Little Sister has been positively affected by our ongoing relationship. We've been able to attend the Nutcracker, Marin Symphony, SF Exploratorium, and countless other activities that my Little would otherwise not have experienced. My Little is graduating from high school and plans to attend community college. I don't believe this would have occurred without BBBS's continued support.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Big Sister and have had an eye-opening experience seeing life from a child's perspective. I have grown, matured and expanded my horizons simply by getting to share life with the child. BBBS of the North Bay has help cultivate a relationship between me and my little, by providing us support, events and fun/engaging outings. This organization does so much more than match-make a Big and a Little! The counselor, Stefan is a GEM! A++++

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

BBBS of the North Bay has changed my boys lives. They have had amazing Bigs and I am so grateful to them for their time and care.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Bay in April of 2015 and began serving on the Board in September this year. I was able to attend the Bowl for Kids' Sake event in April and Golf for Kids' Sake event in September. After meeting the staff and volunteers at these fabulous events I knew this would be a great organization to partner with. The dedication of this team to their mission of helping children realize their potential and build their future is remarkable. There engagement and support with both the "Bigs" and the "Littles" to find the right match and foster a strong and enduring relationship is inspiring. Proud to be a part of such a strong team and flourishing organization.

Review from Guidestar

1 Pam_111

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my second time around being a Big Sister. The organization is very supportive and has lots of activities. It is a great way for me to expose a young person to things and experiences that they would never have without BBBS. Stefan is fabulous and very conscientious and a delight to work with for myself and my Little.
I am still in contact with my Little from 35 years ago. Pam E.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a big Brother for over 16 years, first to six year old Matt in 1999 (now 24) and later to a 11 year old (now 16). This has been a wonderful experience for me and I know my Matt would say the same. His father died when he was five years old and his mother did not re-marry. We still see each other and often get together with my new little. Even better when I am gone, the Matt meets up with the new one. Both of these guys have been stable as they grew up and never in trouble. I believe that organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay are very important in matching children at risk with screened adult mentors. Over the years they have regularly followed up with me to see how the match is going and provide advice. They also arrange for group meetings, picnic and outings and offer suggestions for things to do with the match. Fantastic organization.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Big Sister for over 6 years now and the counselors that are provided by the organization have been a tremendous help throughout. Between creating a great match, helping to deal with difficult situations and providing activities, I can say that BBBS of the Northbay does an amazing job with very little resources.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my second stint as a Big Brother through Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the North Bay. I did it the first time before I had my own children between 1983 and 1991. My nine year relationship with a little brother was fantastic. We did a lot of sports (football, basketball, tennis and a host of others) along with beach activities, etc. I felt the experience for me was fulfilling and was tremendous in the sense that the direct contact with a youngster indeed made a positive difference in a young person's life. His Mom and relatives had much the same thing to say from his end.

In early 2015, I was matched with a new little brother, who is 8 years old. This experience has been even better than the first one. My little brother is 8 years old and it is again a tremendous experience. We play sports, go out for pizza, jamba juice and other activities. When we go out to eat, we play math games and it is an indescribable experience - all positive.

The organization (Big Brothers/Big Sisters) is very supportive and has improved over the past several decades in the level of support and interest in the match.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BBBS North Bay is a fantastic organization. I signed up to be a Big 8 years ago and we are still going strong. The North Bay office did an amazing job of matching me with my Little and coaching us through the introduction and relationship for the years following. The training and consulting offered by the San Rafael team was key to making our experience successful. My Little (not so 'little' anymore, surpassed me in height a few years ago:) is now a Senior in high school and working hard on her college applications. I am so proud of her - and she of herself. She is an amazing person. Although we are both busy with school and work we still make time for each other with phone calls in between getting together for an occasional lunch, dinner or movie. The last couple of summers we experienced mini vacations together and included her sister who she does not get to see too often. It was lot of fun for all of us. I know I have learned as much from my Little as she has from me. Be a Big, Give to BBBS. It will be one of the best investment of your time and money!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a Big Sister about a year ago and am SO HAPPY I signed up. My own daughter just graduated from college and I was missing the younger generation. I love my "little sis." She's great. We go on bike rides and out for ice cream, we go to local plays and talk about book reports. We cook together and take the dogs on walks and hikes at local parks. I taught her to throw a baseball and my husband taught her how to cook shrimp. We've gotten to know her mom and grandparents and sibling. We feel like family friends now, and I hope we stay in each others lives forever. I want all my friends (and their husbands!) to join up. She gives as much to me as I give to her.
I HIGHLY recommend this outfit! Very professional; excellent support and communication.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a big sister for this organization and they do great work. They serve children in the community in need of support and direction. The staff is dedicated and enthusiastically supports their volunteers and clients.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a big brother to Jason for almost 8 years. His father left when he was two and his mother wanted a male roll model for him. He has flourished with the attention. I did not expect how much fun, education and general growth that Jason could bring into my life. It has been a wonderful experience for both of us and we have BBBS to thank. I have also started to support the organization financially, seeing first hand how much good it is doing. The monies are very well spent.
John S.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I'm a volunteer with the North Bay Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) in Sonoma County. BBBS has been a great resource and support. They matched me with my little about two years ago and I've since then developed a wonderful relationship with my little and his family. BBBS does a great job to not only support my mentorship efforts but also encourage group activities throughout the year so that my little and I have opportunities to meet other like minded people in the North Bay. Thank you BBBS!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a BIG for 8 years. My relationship with my LITTLE has been more than rewarding. It has impacted her life as well as her family, all in a most positive manner. BBBS of the NorthBay has been instrumental, helping and guiding me as I have mentored and befriended my LITTLE. I don't think I could have been as successful without their support. My LITTLE's reaction has been most positive. When she turns 18, she hopes to become a BIG too!

Review from Guidestar

Caryl T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I met my little brother 6 years ago. He is now 12. BBBS North bay facilitated our meeting and we will be connected for life. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of his life and I am blessed to have him part of my life. If everyone participated in mentoring programs like this, I believe many economic, racial, religious, age and community barriers could be helped and even resolved. See our pic below, waiting for SF Giants to win a 4th Championship :)

Review from Guidestar

Andrea134

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am loving being a "big". I get to be involved in a kid's life and experience things with them that they might not have experienced other wise. Seeing her open up, talking through issues and trying things she never done before is priceless. So many kids need some one on one attention in their lives and this is a great way for them to get it.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Big Sister with BBBS and it has been one of the best things I've ever done. My Little and I were matched up in May of 2015 and since then we have had so many fun times together - lots of art, hiking and walking my dog, geo-caching, roller skating, kayaking, making sauerkraut and pickles, and reading together. I know I have seen a change in her since we started - and I know I've changed too. She's becoming more animated and talkative and coming out of her shell. She also knows she has a friend who she can ask questions to and who will choose her first. She's also taught me to let loose and have fun - and has even taught me some art skills!

The organization is wonderful, and all the helpers here in the north bay make this even easier. I really appreciate their support and they are always there if I have questions.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My baby sister was a BIG sister for many years and I really admired the relationship she had with her LITTLE. She mentioned that I should sign my daughter up. My daughter and her BIG have been going strong for 10 years now, with my daughter now babysitting her BIG's granddaughter. The relationship has been a huge and ongoing blessing in our lives.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I grew up around this organization and have seen first-hand what a life-long impact a Big Brother or Big Sister can have on the kids it touches. Let me share my stories:

My father signed up to be a "Big" before I was born, and was matched with a young boy whose father was in prison and whose mom worked full-time. The "little" was acting out and starting to get into trouble at school and with the law. After being matched with my dad, this young boy blossomed into a focused, driven and successful person. At school, at home, and in life. He went on to finish college, start his own business, and raise a family. 40 years later this "little" is still a big part of our lives.

My best friend in high school was a "little". His father had passed away when he was 3 years old, and despite being from an upper-middle class family and attending private school as a kid, he had no "dude" in his life. Yes, he had a loving mom and two wonderful older sisters. But he didn't have a dad. His mom wisely signed him up for the Big Brothers program at a young age, and his "big" brother quickly become a meaningful and trusted friend, adviser, and mentor. Simple activities together over time provided a solid foundation for my friend to grow and feel loved and valued in ways that the family cannot provide. His relationship with his big continues now into adulthood, and remains an important part of both of their lives.

Knowing how valuable these Big & Little relationships have been to people I know, I too decided to get involved. Where else can one make such a positive, meaningful and real impact on the life of another person, with just a few hours of time each month?! I was matched with a wonderful 9 year old "little" whose dad had died a few years earlier, and who was in need of a "dude" of his own. Yes he has a mother, grandmother and grandfather who love him dearly, and yes he has a little brother of his own who he spends time playing with, but he needed more. Our casual outings, hikes, trips to the movies, and meals together are simple. We have no topical agenda or issues to address when we are together, we just spend time. He enjoys the support and companionship, and I enjoy watching him grow and mature. He couldn't be happier to have someone special in his life.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay makes a real difference in the lives of kids. They make it easy to get involved, and support their matches throughout the duration of the relationship - and beyond. The team of counselors thoughtfully pairs their Bigs and Littles to help ensure success and enjoyment. They organize outings, events, and activities for their matches to attend. They check in often and help wherever needed to ensure the most out of every match. They make it easy to turn a few hours a month into a life-changing personal connection that really makes a difference in the lives of these kids. Bravo!

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

Big Brothers and Big Sisters makes an impact on a child's life that is truly life changing!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a Big Sister for 6 years front he age of 8-14. My little sister was adopted by a single mom who had difficulty parenting a special needs child. My little sister had significant learning challenges and lacked social skills. It was a joy to see her get excited when we explored tide pools and built sand castles. However, she blossomed when we cooked together. She began cooking at home for her mom and that helped to bring them closer together. It was a personal delight to see a girl who had no self confidence blossom when she found activities that she could succeed at. Big Brothers Big Sisters' model of mentoring is profoundly successful.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a Big Sister has been such a rewarding experience for me. My first time was in Kansas City, MO and most recently with North Bay. The BBBS North Bay organization is completely devoted to assisting children in need in 4 counties...constantly running events and reaching out to the community for support and volunteers. The North Bay's volunteer training for Bigs is something that really stands out in my mind, giving you the skills to be a meaningful mentor. My Little Sister, who is now 30, has helped assist in after school learning programs with BBBSNorth Bay and loved it. She feels, as I do, you need to pay it forward.

Review from Guidestar