Core Programs

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County provides one-to-one mentoring through three umbrellas of programming: (1) Community-based Mentoring, (2) Site-based Mentoring, (3) Workplace-based Mentoring. Across all programs, the foundational model remains the same: one child (“Little”) is intentionally “matched” with an adult volunteer (“Big”) in a long-term, professionally supported mentoring relationship. And no matter at what age a child enters a program, there’s no limit to where he or she can go.

Community-Based Programs

Community-Based Mentoring is the traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters’ program, where Bigs and Littles get together on their own to share fun activities they both enjoy. The Community Program is flexible to accommodate a variety of schedules. Volunteers must meet with a child at least 2 times a month for 2-4 hours each time for a minimum of one year.

To ensure a positive experience for both the child and volunteer, an assortment of activity options and ideas are provided along with the training and support of a professional Big Brother Big Sisters Match Support Specialist. Getting together is a great time for both the Big and the Little. It doesn’t require a special occasion or expensive activities; just a few hours every month to share the simple things you already like to do.

Some Bigs meet their Littles on the weekends. Others get together with their Littles in the evenings. Each match is unique and develops a schedule that works for them.

Healthy FuturesBig FuturesAmachi
The Healthy Futures initiative connects all Community-Mentoring Big Brothers and Big Sisters to resources and activities in our community that will help them enhance the health and wellness of their Little Brother or Little Sister. By equipping Big Brother and Big Sister volunteers with the tools they need to help their Littles succeed, we believe Littles in the program will achieve greater outcomes and mentors will experience higher satisfaction in their mentoring relationships.
Big Futures functions as an enhancement program for all High School aged Community-Mentoring Littles. The program is designed to help Little Brothers and Sisters, parents and Bigs work together to make a plan, take action and meet individualized education and career goals. Big Futures promotes high school graduation, career exploration and workforce readiness for teens preparing to take the next BIG step into vocational/trade school, military service, or 2 or 4-year education programs.  Click to learn more about this innovative program.
The Amachi program functions as a Community-Mentoring program, whereas the volunteer meets with one child in the community at least 2 times a month for 2-4 hours each time, but this program serves only a specific population of children – children of the incarcerated. Big Brothers Big Sisters seeks to serve with intentionality the children who need us most, and with that in mind, targeted the estimated 15,000 children in San Diego County who have a parent incarcerated. Click to learn more about this unique program.

Site-Based Programs

Bigs and Littles in the Site-Based Programs enjoy activities on site at the school or community center, such as playing on the playground, playing board games, making crafts, or just spending time talking together. Sessions include one-on-one activities that facilitate character building and relationship development, as well as having fun. A Big Brothers Big Sisters staff member is on location for all program sessions to facilitate and support the matches.

Operation Bigs and High School Bigs meet with their Littles on the same day each week for one hour, during the school year.

High School BigsOperation Bigs
HSB-mainHigh school students volunteer to serve as mentors to students in select elementary schools. The high school mentors provide elementary student Littles with one-on-one time and attention. The matches meet after school hours depending on the proximity of their school locations. High School Bigs experience the joy and life changing power of service, build college resumes, and may receive school credit. Littles have the opportunity to connect with a role model close to their own age whom they identify with strongly.Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County is currently partnered with 5 high schools within the county. However, students who attend any of the San Diego County high schools can apply to be a Big Brother or Big Sister in the program. Your high school need not be an official partner in order for you to participate. Learn more about High School Bigs.
Operation Bigs is a one-to-one mentoring program for military children, the first of its kind in the nation. Mentoring provides an extra layer of support to local military families. The military lifestyle often presents many challenges for children and families such as frequent relocation, school transitions, separation from extended family, increased responsibility coupled with a sense of loss when a parent deploys and the physical and psychological stress faced when a parent returns from war.
Learn more about Operation Bigs>

Workplace-Based Programs

Bigs and Littles in the Workplace-Based Programs enjoy activities on site at the corporate office. Beyond School Walls meets with their Littles at the Corporate host site twice a month for 1.5 hours, during the school year.

Beyond School Walls (BSW) ProgramBSW- Sister2SisterBSW- STEM
BSW2Beyond School Walls allows companies such as Millennium Health, Bumble Bee Tuna and The Ken Blanchard Companies to give back to the community by hosting children from a nearby school at their corporate office.

The purpose of the program is to expose youth to the world of work, provide them with an adult role model, and help them create a vision for a positive future. Each program day the Big and Little will discuss topics that aid children with building life and leadership skills, while having fun and building a friendship. There are two subsets of the Beyond School Walls program: STEM and Sister2Sister. Learn More about Beyond School Walls unique programming >

Beyond School Walls Big and Little SisterSister2Sister pairs caring adult women employees who can provide young girls alternative perspectives on their value and unique gifts to counter the active recruitment of 11 – 13 year old girls being lured into human trafficking through gang prostitution. The pairs will participate in a body image and self-identity project, designed in conjunction with the San Diego County District Attorney’s office, aimed at deterring young women from involvement in juvenile prostitution and delinquency. View our impact video > 
 BeyondSchoolWallsgroupScience –Technology – Engineering – Math: Hosted at STEM-based corporations, employees will provide one-to-one mentoring plus exposure to an experiential STEM activity at each session. This program will provide underserved youth a unique access to STEM professionals in a non-judgmental, non-academic setting where they will be exposed to high quality STEM experiences. Learn more >

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