In 1978, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda (BBBS) was founded following the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring model established in the United States in 1913. The BBBS of Bermuda Committee was designed by members of our community considering the key elements of the BBBS Organization in North America as well as Bermuda’s unique social and cultural values.
On an on-going basis, BBBS has networked with our sister organizations across Canada and the United States to share ideas on how the Bermuda Agency could be more effective in responding to the changing needs of the community
In 1999, Big Brothers Big Sisters International was established to support Big Brothers Big Sisters-type mentoring programs throughout the world. In May 2001, BBBS was made an official affiliate of this International Organization and since then, BBBS Bermuda has received extensive support in meeting the needs of the children we serve. In addition, in May of 2002, BBBS of Bermuda was recognized internationally as Cross-Border Partners with BBBS of Dartmouth, Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2005 BBBS International Office re-evaluated and formalized standards of practice for Big Brothers Big Sisters International Programs and in 2007 BBBS of Bermuda was recognized as a BBBSI affiliate under this new structure.
Over the past 30 years, BBBS has been making a positive impact on children’s lives by matching children, primarily from single-parent homes, with adult volunteers. The children as well as the volunteers come from all walks of life, and represent the diversity of Bermuda. Our volunteers may be single, married, childless or with children of their own, and be of any age.
A Big Brother or Big Sister acts as a mentor and role model. Big Brothers and Big Sisters help their Littles grow, not just by offering friendship and guidance, but by sharing experiences. And the Big Brother or Big Sister mentor is there to let their Little Brother or Little Sister know that no matter how difficult things get, they have someone special to turn to. Big Brothers and Big Sisters provide an invaluable role in helping to teach a child values and responsibility – as well as how to have fun. The result is a child with increased self-esteem and confidence.
91% of children involved with Big Brothers & Big Sisters Programs experience a sharp rise in self-esteem, 70% do better in school, and 73% stay out of trouble with the law.
Some of the children we match with Big Brothers and Big Sisters have faced very real obstacles in their lives – having a mentor who knows how to work hard to overcome challenges, and who is willing to share knowledge and experience, makes a world of difference. Others are simply in need of an adult influence in their lives to help link them to educational, recreational, and health care services.
Our case managers carefully evaluate prospective volunteers and match the children based on similar interests. Once the child and adult are matched, the case managers are available to advise them in regard to the growth and maturity of their relationship.