Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County (BBBSBC) is a donor supported non-profit mentoring organization with over 50 years of service to youth. Located in Jamison, its mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong, enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better. Their vision is that all children achieve success in life. BBBSBC accomplishes this by partnering with parents / guardians, volunteers and others in the community.

Referred by schools, Children & Youth, Juvenile Court and family members, children in BBBSBC programs range in age from six to 17. “Bigs” provide support and guidance through one-on-one relationships that so many children desire. By talking, listening and engaging in productive, fun activities, these adult mentors can ultimately help a child achieve their highest potential as they become adults. 

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County (BBBSBC) is a donor supported non-profit mentoring organization with over 50 years of service to youth. Located in Jamison, its mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong, enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better. Their vision is that all children achieve success in life. BBBSBC accomplishes this by partnering with parents / guardians, volunteers and others in the community.

Referred by schools, Children & Youth, Juvenile Court and family members, children in BBBSBC programs range in age from six to 17. “Bigs” provide support and guidance through one-on-one relationships that so many children desire. By talking, listening and engaging in productive, fun activities, these adult mentors can ultimately help a child achieve their highest potential as they become adults. 

During the 2012-2013 year, the following outcomes were reported by the agency’s Community-based “Bigs” on the anniversary of the match:

  •  91% reported an increase in Little’s self-confidence;
  • 85% reported Little’s were able to avoid substance abuse;
  • 73% reported an improvement in Little’s decision-making abilities;
  • 72% reported Little’s avoided delinquency.

Last year, BBBSBC served 1,500 children. With the challenges facing youth today and the current economic climate, BBBSBC has seen a significant increase in the number of children referred to their programs. Currently, there are over 100 who are waiting for a “Big” Brother or Sister. “Bigs” are interviewed and go through a multi-level clearance check. Prior to being matched, “Bigs” go through a training program.

Once matched, BBBSBC staff follow-up with the “Big,” “Little,” parents/guardians and school counselors to ensure that the match is built on a strong foundation and will be in place for many years to come. BBBSBC asks volunteers for a 15-month commitment and have a current average match length of 33 months. BBBSBC has been recognized nationally for the past five years for delivering the highest quality of programs.     

Annual fundraisers include Bowl For Kids Sake (March), Golf Fore Kids Sake (June) and Evening for Kids Sake (November). By volunteering as a mentor or supporting BBBSBC fundraisers, people can help make a difference in the life of a child. 

For more information visit www.bbbsbc.org or call 215-343-8260.

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BBBSBC honored for outstanding quality

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has named Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County a 2013 Quality Award honoree. BBBSBC is one of the top achieving affiliates from the 340 agencies in the national mentoring network.

The agency was recognized at the Big Brothers Big Sisters 2013 ReuniteNow National Conference in Denver, Colorado. Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies that receive the Quality Award have exceeded the national average for performance for match length and retention rates.

Match length is a significant factor for success in the mentoring relationship. The 2013 Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Survey® report revealed that after a year of being in a one-to-one mentoring relationship, middle-school aged mentees when compared to their unmatched counterparts outperformed their peers in every area measured.

“The only Big Brothers Big Sisters agency in the region to be recognized for the past five consecutive years, I am proud to work with a team that is so dedicated to our mission of helping children facing adversity beat the odds and succeed in life,” said Ursula Raczak, CEO.  “The positive changes we are able to achieve are helping to ensure brighter futures for the youth in our program.”

Each Big Brother or Big Sister completes a “Report on the Match” at the anniversary of the match. 

The following outcomes were reported during the 2012-2013 year:

  • 91% of volunteers reported an increase in client’s self-confidence;
  • 85% of volunteers reported client’s ability to avoid substance abuse was not a problem;
  • 73% of volunteer reported clients improved in their ability to make decisions;
  • 72% of volunteers reported client’s ability to avoid delinquency was not a problem.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County serves as a nationwide example of how quality mentoring services lead to the measurable outcomes that are unique to Big Brothers Big Sisters. We hold ourselves accountable for helping our mentees achieve educational success; have greater confidence and aspirations; and avoid of risky and delinquent behaviors,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and CEO Charles Pierson. “Our network salutes Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County for receiving this honor.”

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Pew Charitable Trusts grant helps children reach their full potential

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County (BBBSBC), the premiere mentoring agency in Bucks County, has received a $150,000 grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. This grant will allow BBBSBC to expand mentoring services to an additional 150 children in the Lower Bucks Community.  

Distributed over a three-year period, the grant will provide continuous support to the BBBSBC community-based mentoring program. BBBSBC carefully matches at-risk youths with caring, adult role models.

The “Big” and “Little” meet two to four times each month, spending time together on weekends or weeknights. Research has shown that children enrolled in BBBSBC programs are more likely to improve in school and in their relationships with family and friends, and less likely to skip school or use illegal drugs or alcohol.

“The Pew Charitable Trusts’ support of the Lower Bucks Mentoring Initiative is vital to our agency,” said Ursula Raczak, CEO of BBBSBC. “By pairing adult mentors with children who want and need them, we will be able to work together to achieve goals, such as improve school attendance or grades.”

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Michael Jaurigue joins BBBSBC Board of Directors

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County (BBBSBC) has announced that Michael Jaurigue, Commercial Programs Manager at Sabre Systems has been named to the Board of Directors.

Michael has been with Sabre Systems since 2007, managing on-going commercial projects and business development activities.

Ursula Raczak, BBBSBC’s CEO, said that the addition of Jaurigue illustrates Sabre Systems commitment to the community.

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EITC program helps fund BBBSBC’s school-based mentoring programs

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County (BBBSBC) recently celebrated the success of its High School Bigs Program in the Pennsbury, Council Rock and Quakertown school districts. High school students matched with Little Brothers and Little Sisters at elementary schools within their district attended ice cream socials celebrating the end of the school year.

Thirty-seven high school and elementary school students were matched during the 2012-2013 academic year, and according to a 2013 Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Youth Outcomes Survey, the “Littles” in the school-based mentoring programs have been statistically shown to make significant improvements in the categories of social acceptance, avoidance of risky behaviors, educational expectations and parental trust.

MileStone Bank, UHS of Delaware, Comcast, Susquehanna Bank, Waste Management and HRM, USA Inc. all contributed funds to support the High School Bigs Program in 2012 through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC).

All EITC funds go directly toward supporting the in-depth screening and interviewing process as well as the staff training necessary for creating a one-to-one mentoring relationship.

“Through the generosity of our local corporations and our partnership with the Pennsbury, Council Rock and Quakertown school district guidance counselors and administrators, we are able to provide mentors to elementary school children,” said Susan Bartels, Director of Programs. “High school students have the opportunity to gain leadership experience while the elementary students are able to have someone else who is there to help them.”

BBBSBC received a total of $41,500 through EITC funding towards the High School Bigs Program this year. The Department of Community and Economic Development EITC Program allows Pennsylvania businesses to provide funding to education improvement programs in lieu of paying PA corporate income taxes.

Businesses apply to the DCEC in early July each year and are notified if they are eligible for the EITC program.

The tax credits are typically applied to scholarship and educational improvement organizations.  For more information on the EITC program, visit www.newpa.com.

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Eric Poris joins BBBSBC

Eric Poris, of Holland, has recently joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County (BBBSBC), located in Jamison, as Bilingual Case Manager for the agency’s Hispanic Initiative.

In this position, he will coordinate and oversee matches between youngsters from the Hispanic community who are interested in having a mentor and adult volunteers who are Hispanic or have some personal identification with the Spanish-speaking community throughout Bucks County. 

Prior to joining BBBSBC, Eric, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, served as a Spanish/English interpreter at Bucks County Community College and worked for Teach For America on the Pine Ridge American Indian Reservation in Allen, South Dakota for two years.

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Local youth deliver cheer with meals for seniors on MLK Day

 

Youth and their case managers from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County’s Options Program prepared meals of meat loaf, potatoes and more for local homebound seniors as a way of giving back on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

Pictured in the kitchen of the Doylestown Mennonite Church are, from left (front row) Jose and Michael; (back row) Kyree, Rob, Dominic, and Thom McGowan, case manager for the program.

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