Austin’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Celebrates Big Accomplishments & Prepares for Annual Ice Ball
published on July 22, 2013
For over 40 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been matching caring adult volunteer mentors with Central Texas children to create long-lasting, impactful mentoring relationships. Its volunteers meet up with kids from Lakeway to East Austin to do homework, talk, play sports, or just plain have fun.
“Our children come from all over the city and surrounding counties, and encompass almost every zip code and school in our area,” explains Alida Tallman, Vice President of Development. “The BBBS program is a key part of our community fabric,” she says. “Almost everyone knows someone who is or has been a mentor in our program, and chances are, most people have run across one of our matches out in the community participating in an awesome activity like kayaking on Town Lake, ordering up something creative at Amy’s Ice Cream, or catching a movie, play, or game together.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters got its start in partnership with the juvenile court. Though it serves a diverse group of approximately 1,500 youth annually, it focuses on kids facing high levels of risk. This could be a kid from a home in Seven Oaks with a history of juvenile justice involvement, or a kid coping with a parent in the military or incarcerated.
Its efforts are making a big difference, according to the results of an in-depth Youth Outcome Survey of former BBBS kids, referred to fondly as “Littles”. Here are a few of the heartwarming 2012 findings:
-85% of former Littles surveyed agree their experience influenced them in overcoming adversity or problems with courage.
-67% of former Littles surveyed agree their Big played a role in their decision to attend college.
-81% of former Littles surveyed agree their Big gave them hope & changed their perspective of what they thought possible.
-84% of former Littles surveyed agree their experience influenced them in showing understanding to those less fortunate.
-84% of former Littles surveyed agree their Big taught them the importance of helping others.
“While so much of what BBBS matches do together is straight-up fun,” remarks Tallman, “these activities help build the bond that allows our Bigs to impact the Littles. So many of our kids enjoy short-term gains, such as increased self-esteem, better behavior, school attendance, and grades; and they go on to graduate high school and become first generation college students. The small moments that each match shares collectively have a huge impact.”
So does the organization. Last year alone, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas created and supported 1,486 mentoring relationships, and volunteers provided over 90,000 hours of time to build relationships with their Littles. The BBBS staff accomplished 13,317 interactions to ensure the children in their program were safe and that mentoring relationships were productive, healthy, and positive. Amazingly, 99 percent of the children they served remained in school, and a whopping 97% of them improved or maintained their grades!
BBBS could not make this kind of staggering impact alone. The non-profit organization relies heavily on volunteers, families, and friends of the agency who support its efforts. Without a caring volunteer with a couple of hours to spare on a Saturday, BBBS couldn’t change a day in the life of a struggling child in Shady Hollow from a strikeout to a home run.
It’s important to realize that Big Brothers Big Sisters is a donor-supported organization. Since it does not charge for its services, it depends on the generosity of the Central Austin community to raise the nearly $2 million dollars required each year to provide the intensive staff, support, and events that make its unique programs so fun and effective.
“Our largest fundraising event, the 9th annual Ice Ball gala, is coming up on Saturday, August 24th at the Austin Hilton downtown,” says Tallman. “Ice Ball features tastes from Austin restaurants, towering ice sculptures, signature cocktails, and live and silent auctions. It is an evening of fun that will make a lifetime of difference for a child!”
Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to have a fabulous time while supporting an organization making an immeasurable difference in the lives of Central Texas children. Learn more at www.AustinIceBall.org, or visit the BBBS website to learn how you can volunteer to become a Big Brother or Big Sister today.
The REALTORS® at Regent Property Group support non-profit organizations making a big difference to little Austinites, like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. We also support homebuyers as they traverse Austin’s real estate market. On the lookout for a Luxury Home in Austin, Texas? Regent can help.
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