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Welcome to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the North Bay!

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay, like all Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates, is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with its own staff, budget and board of directors. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the national organization, sets and measures program standards, offers online training and supports the affiliates with national campaigns and initiatives. We are a donor and volunteer supported organization that provides adult mentors to children in Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties who need caring role models in their lives - a friend, guide and supporter who can expand their horizons and get them on a lifelong path to success.

Our mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. For over 40 years, we have been providing adult mentors that have fundamentally improved the lives of the North Bay’s most at-risk youth, breaking the cycles of poverty, drugs and violence.

90% of youth we impact come from low income, single parent homes, have a parent deployed in the military, are in foster care or have an incarcerated parent. We provide a professional counselor that supports the volunteer, child and family throughout the relationship. The idea is simple but powerful. Be a friend, be a confidante, be a teacher – and most importantly, just be there.

Our Challenge
Due to difficult economic times, there are thousands of families in our community in desperate need of our services. We currently have approximately 120 youth in Marin County alone waiting for a Big Brother or Sister – almost 80% are boys.  An additional 50 are waiting in Napa, Sonoma and Solano Counties.  It is imperative that we provide mentors for these deserving young people. It is far less costly to society to help these kids now than to pay the costs of unemployment, drug or alcohol rehabilitation, or incarceration later. YOU can make a difference.

It’s up to you! Make a difference today and have a lasting impact on a child, a family, your community!

Volunteer      Donate     Start Something BIG.

Our One-to-One Mentoring Program Works
It has been proven that one of the most important factors contributing to a child's success is a positive adult role model. We provide trained volunteer mentors to nurture and support more than 500 local children each year. Big Brothers and Sisters help their ‘Littles’ develop the skills they need to become happy, healthy, contributing members of society.

We constantly strengthen our programs by actively measuring specific youth outcomes that focus on: 
  • Greater educational success
  • Avoidance of risky behaviors (especially juvenile delinquency)
  • Increased self-esteem, confidence, and the ability to relate to others
 Big Brothers Big Sisters is a SMART Investment
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters was named #1 Non Profit for At-Risk Youth by GuideStar’s Philanthropedia for our effective mentoring model, organizational leadership and community outreach.
  • The American Institute of Philanthropy gave us its highest rating, an A+
  • Charity Navigator, America's premier charity evaluator, has given us 4 out of 4 Stars
  • We have met Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance's Standards for Charity Accountability
  • We were recently included on the Social Impact Exchange website, an index of the top 100 nonprofits creating social impact
An investment in Big Brothers Big Sisters is an investment in a child’s potential
We give at-risk youth hope for their future. Independent studies show that, compared to their peers, kids who have participated in our program:
  • Are 52% less likely to skip a day of school and have three times fewer drop outs
  • Are 46% less likely to use drugs and 27% less likely to use alcohol
  • Have four times fewer arrests and teen pregnancies
What our alumni say…
Our impact on education is felt long after Littles graduate from high school. In 2009, Harris Interactive conducted an online survey of alumni Littles from across the nation. Among those former Littles:
  • 77% reported doing better in school because of their Big.
  • 65% agreed their Big helped them reach a higher level of education then they thought possible.
  • 52% agreed their Big kept them from dropping out of high school.

Children that graduate from high school, perform better academically, and realize achievements greater than their expectations are more successful in school and in life. In many cases, Littles achieve the highest level of education ever achieved in their family – and they now give back by volunteering, donating or being a community leader.

Our Programs

Community-based Mentoring - matches one carefully screened adult volunteer with one local child in need. Our matches meet weekly, engage in fun activities together and build lasting friendships that foster improved self esteem, academic achievement and a more hopeful future.

Site-based Mentoring - utilizes existing centers of youth activities to offer onsite, mentoring services to children in the community. Our program at Pickleweed Community Center matches adults with kids under staff supervision.

Work-place Mentoring - through this program teenage Littles are matched with an employee mentor at their place of business for 1.5 hours a month. They learn about job opportunities, education requirements, skills needed, the application process and appropriate workplace etiquette.

It costs our agency $1,800 to make and support a match annually.  Donate Today - Help a child beat the odds, find hope & get on the path to success!

Start Something Today…
· Bring hope back to childhood – teach a child to dream again
· Create a friendships that lasts a lifetime
· Inspire a child to be whatever she wants to be
· Motivate a child to be the first in his family to go to college

Make a tax-deductible gift online now or contact Vicky Smirnoff, Senior Director of Development at (415) 453-3800, x 235 or at For all donations, our Tax ID # is 94-2502278. 

State Wide Campaign to Recruit Male Volunteers

This July, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of California (BBBSAC) is launched its first-ever state-wide initiative centered on the recruitment of male volunteers to become Big Brothers. This inaugural campaign will be the first time all 17 California agencies have worked together to leverage their collective reach with the goal of significantly reducing the number of boys that are waiting for a Big Brother in California.

Across the state, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is experiencing a critical need for men to volunteer. An average of  70% of the children on the waiting list for mentors are boys, and only 37% of new volunteers are men; as a result,  boys are waiting an average of 275 days before receiving a Big Brother.

"It is our desire to give men a fun and easy way to help strengthen our communities by providing boys a quality mentoring experience that is proven to help children who face adversity succeed in and out of school," said Lauren Grayman, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay. "This summer is the perfect time to 'Man Up' and find out how rewarding it is to play sports, go on a hike, dine or share your interests with a child who needs some encouragement."

BBBS primarily serves children from homes with low-income, a single parent, an incarcerated parent, or an active duty military family, with a deployable parent. "I am a single mother. My son’s father passed away last year, and he needs a male role model in his life now more than ever," explained Jackie, the parent of a child on the waiting list. Due to complex circumstances, boys like Jackie's son are faced with a statistical spike in their likelihood to turn to drugs, alcohol and violence in an effort to cope with increased stress in their lives. Parents recognize the proven benefits that come from having a caring role model in their lives, and many are reaching out for help. "My son could use a more positive male influence in his life," expressed Jennifer of her 10-year-old son. Mothers like Jennifer are seeking better outcomes for their sons and are looking to BBBS to partner with them to support their children.

This campaign is harnessing the power of social and broadcast media to reach men where they live most. Through a number of integrated touch points including an interactive landing page, social media campaign, and YouTube series featuring official "Man Up" spokesperson, Bruce, a 13th century Scottish Warrior puppet, "Man Up California" is offering a new approach to recruitment.

If you want to make a difference in a child's life, the basic requirements to volunteer are:
  • Over 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Social Security number with no criminal background
  • Be available to volunteer for at least 1 year
  • Men, and Spanish-speaking volunteers are in high demand.

If you can’t volunteer, perhaps you might consider donating to help sponsor a waiting boy, who will be carefully matched with a screened volunteer and receive ongoing support and events.

Big Brothers Big Sisters programs are based on a data-proven model focused on creating and sustaining strong and long mentoring matches. Longstanding research by Public Private Ventures, a national nonprofit research and program development organization, found that after 18 months of spending time with their "Bigs", the Little Brothers and Little Sisters, compared to those children not in the program are:
  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • 52% less likely to skip school
  • 37% less likely to skip a class
  • 33% less likely to hit someone

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay: Founded a century ago, Big Brothers Big Sisters is an internationally recognized donor-supported volunteer organization with more than 350 independent agencies nationwide. In 1970, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay (formally Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marin) was formed to improve the lives and futures of the thousands of children in Marin County. In 1999 Napa County was added to our service area, and in 2007 we incorporated Solano County and changed our name to reflect our expanded service area. In 2008 we merged with the Sonoma County agency. We are currently serving over 500 youth per year in the North Bay with proven results. For more information visit or call 415-453-3800.

To Become a Big Brother or Sister Contact:
Mary Berbae, Intake Coordinator, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay at 415-453-3800, x225 or email to:

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© 2013 Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay, 1618 2nd Street, San Rafael, CA 94901, 415-453-3800

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