Exploration, Resiliency, Potential

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley helps children realize their potential and build their futures. We nurture children and strengthen communities. We couldn't do any of it without YOU!

About Us

For more than 30 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As a donor supported volunteer organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 7 through 18, throughout eastern Iowa and western Illinois. We develop positive friendships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.

Vision

All youth achieve their full potential

Mission

Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

 

Commitment in Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI)

We strive to embrace true representation in our brand, diversity of people and perspectives, and inclusion in all areas of our organization so we can make a generational impact on our community through life-changing friendships.

Genuine diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts come from not just words, but actions. In an effort to hold ourselves and others accountable, we are committing to create an inclusive culture and pledge to do more to support our staff, Littles, families and the greater community.

We recognize that we can do more and that change won’t happen overnight, but we’re in this for the long haul — we want the work we do to create a lasting, positive impact.

Our commitments and work to-date include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Carrying out our mission of matching Bigs and Littles in long term, life-changing friendships.
  • Continue to bridge gaps and bring people of different backgrounds together.
  • Supporting Matches with conversations, education, resources, and training from the moment of acceptance into the program until the conclusion of the Match.
  • Welcoming and intentionally recruiting volunteers and children of all races, gender identities and sexual orientations into our program.
  • Commitment of the BBBSMV Executive Team, Leadership Team, and entire staff to be intentional about infusing and prioritizing DEI in every project and interaction that our teams carry out.
  • Regularly seek out new perspectives on our DEI efforts through surveys, listening sessions, small groups, etc.
  • Intentionally and strategically recruit and promote diverse staff and board members.
  • Prioritize establishing long-term partnerships with female and minority-owned businesses and organizations.
  • Prioritize working with vendors that are minority and women owned.
  • Designate funds to assess, inform, and strengthen our DEI efforts through training, events, and community engagement.
  • Research and implement additional policies focused on diversity, inclusion and belonging to create a more inclusive workplace culture.
  • Steward and enhance our staff mentorship program among staff to cultivate talent and create a safe space for all employees to be heard and developed.
  • Develop and execute ongoing DEI education curriculum for staff.
  • Continue to provide a staff hotline to express concerns safely and confidentially.
  • Engage in professional, local, and national DEI programs to learn and evolve as an agency.
  • Ensure that the sponsors, partners, and donors that we work with are aligned with our core values.
  • Utilize internal “Allies” staff committee to produce innovative ways to support, educate, and involve our staff in DEI efforts.
  • Hold ourselves accountable to make progress, track that progress, and communicate that progress to our staff, board, and community. 

 

How does Big Brothers Big Sisters help Kasaius?

Matching

When Big Brothers Big Sisters works to match a Little with a Big, we take into account the needs, personality, interests, and goals of both the child and the adult volunteer. We introduce the Little and his or her family to the Big slowly and make sure everyone is fully committed to the match before it is made official. Little Brother Kasaius is outgoing and up for anything, so he needed a Big who was creative and had a variety of interests.

Relationship Management

Children like Kasaius get the most out of their one-to-one relationship with their Big when the Big, the parent or guardian, and the child talk openly with their Match Support Specialist. Working as part of the team helping the child succeed, the Match Support Specialist can help identify problems, brainstorm solutions, and connect the family with essential services.

Activities

When Kasaius’ Big Brother saw the email from BBBS saying that there were spots open in a free acting class, he jumped at the chance to take Kasaius. BBBS affiliates across the country provide activities for Bigs and Littles and also alert Bigs to opportunities in the community. This enables Bigs to get to know other Bigs, who might be experiencing similar things and who might have great suggestions for more new activities.

Screening and Training

Child safety is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ highest priority. To achieve the highest standards possible, we work constantly to review and strengthen our background check systems as new best practices in the industry emerge. We also make sure our Bigs and our staff have the training and resources they need to help Littles on their path to success.

Positive Youth Outcomes

Big Brothers Big Sisters is recognized at the local, state and national levels for our quality, safety and performance.  Our mentoring model focuses on the three “Cs”- confidence, competence and caring.  We want young adults to: 1) feel positive about themselves and have a sense of hope for their future, 2) be aware of and engaged in positive supports and resources within the community, and 3) have healthy relationships with their family, peers and adults.     

Through strong one-to-one relationships, youth achieve:

• Educational success and motivation

• Avoidance of risky behavior and engagement in positive activities

• Social and emotional development with position relationships and compassion toward others.

Affiliations and Standards of Excellence

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley is an independent affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the nation's oldest and largest youth mentoring organization.  For over 110 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has implemented, developed, and perfected its unique, evidence-based professionally-supported one-to-one mentoring model across the country.  Big Brothers Big Sisters of America provides us with:

• National standards, policies, and procedures focused on child safety

• Research and program development supported by the nation’s leading youth mentoring experts

• Evaluation systems and technology

• Nationwide best practices shared by over 300 affiliates across the country

• Branding and collaborative support to drive capacity and resources.

 

GOLD STANDARD AGENCY

Since 2016, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley has been recognized as a “Gold Standard" Agency by the Nationwide Leadership Council of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.  Winning agencies are recognized for outstanding performance, including high retention rates, high quality case management, and financial stability.  This award identifies the top 5% of over 300 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies nationwide.

Quality Standard Agency

In 2015, Big Brothers big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley was first recognized for it quality performance management and performance by receiving the Quality Standard Award.  This award focuses on the program implementation and performance side of the organization.  Receiving this award placed BBBSMV in the top 25% of affiliates within the Big Brothers Big Sisters network in the areas of recruitment, enrollment, match support, and match retention.

Guidestar is an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies.  Its database provides information on 2.5 million organizations.

GuideStar was one of the first central sources of information on U.S. nonprofits and is the world's largest source of information about nonprofit organizations. GuideStar also serves to verify that a recipient organization is established and that donated funds go where the donor intended for individuals looking to give.

In 2013, GuideStar invited nonprofits to supplement the public information that is available from the IRS.  GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles implement three seals based on the information a nonprofit provides in its profile: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley is a Gold Standard organization within Guidestar.  Transparency and openness are standards at the core of our organization.  To view our rating and disclosures, visit www.Guidestar.org.

Mentor-  The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) is the unifying champion for expanding quality youth mentoring relationships in the United State.  For more than 25 years, MENTOR has served the mentoring field by providing a public voice; developing and delivering resources to mentoring programs nationwide; and promoting quality for mentoring through evidence-based standards, innovative resreach and essential tools.  MENTOR has developed and supports a national collective of affiliates that provide regional, state and local leadership and infrastructure necessary to support the expansion of quality mentoring relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley is a partner with MENTOR at the federal level and both the Iowa and Illinois Mentoring Partnerships at the state level.

 

Other Ways to Get Involved

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Whether it’s as a donor, event participant, being a Big Brother, Big Sister or Big Couple, a community advocate, or as a family member, we welcome your involvement and support.