General Program Statement

Big Brothers Big Sisters is in the business of changing lives. Every day we defend the potential of local children and create friendships that make a lifelong impact. Annually, our agency serves 500-700 children in a variety of programs; some programs take place in schools, some in local companies and our traditional program engages children in the community.

Community-Based Program

Community-based mentoring is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ most familiar national program. Dedicated adult mentors are matched with youth in the community. Our volunteers, “Bigs,” support their “Littles” through encouragement, guidance, and being a positive role model. Matches spend a few hours together each month engaging in no-cost or low-cost activities in the community.

School-Based Program

Our school-based mentoring program provides an opportunity for a child and their mentor to meet several times per month at the child’s school or youth center to have a meal, play games, etc. In this setting, mentors may be either an adult from the community or a high school student from the same school district.

Bigs in Blue Program

“Bigs in Blue” is a national initiative designed to introduce youth to active-duty law enforcement officers who serve as mentors. Each officer meets with his or her “Little” a few times each month on-site at the child’s school. This program creates and fosters lines of communication and trust in our communities. BBBSCR currently has the second largest Bigs in Blue program in the country. We are partnered with 17 local police departments as well as the Pennsylvania State Police.

Beyond School Walls Program

“Beyond School Walls” is a customized curriculum-based mentoring initiative in which representatives from a regional business serve as one-to-one mentors for high school students. Each mentoring relationship helps students build confidence, explore career opportunities, acquire soft skills, and learn job skills that will benefit the students during and after high school.

Youth Rise Stand Together Program

Launched in January 2021, “Youth Rise: Stand Together” started as a virtual speaker series, then launched as a Beyond School Walls program in October 2021. The purpose of the program is to introduce youth of color to BIPOC community leaders. This program was made possible thanks to the collaboration of Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC and Whitaker Center of Science and the Arts. And special thanks to Capital Blue Cross and our local and national partner, The Starbucks Community Foundation, for sponsoring the program.

Sports Buddies Program

“Sports Buddies” is a site-based mentoring program that takes place at Lebanon Valley Family YMCA/Carlisle Family YMCA. Children and their mentors spend time together engaging in various activities and programs offered through the YMCA.

Savvy Sisters Initiative

The “Savvy Sisters” initiative is a STEAM and leadership initiative for girls that introduces them to female professionals, executives and entrepreneurs in the community. Little Sisters, elementary through high school, explore professional and academic interests through activities, presenters and visits to local businesses, community organizations and educational facilities.

Grow Big Grow Well

“Grow Big Grow Well” is a holistic health and wellness initiative. Matches participate in activities that reinforce healthy choices and introduce youth to strategies which provide a holistic approach to wellness. The pilot program was launched in 2019 thanks to the Partnership for Better Health and the program is expanding to all five counties thanks to Highmark and Penn State Health.