The Giving Index: Big Brothers Big Sisters Michigan Capital Region

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Monday, December 3, 2018, 7:59 am
Colleen Steinman

During the month of December ELi will highlight the needs of several non-profit organizations that are either based in, or serve the residents of East Lansing. This is not a comprehensive roundup by any means, and if there's an organization that matters to you we hope you'll let us know by sending an email to

Big Brothers Big Sisters Capital Region (BBBSMCR) needs adult volunteers to serve as mentors, and financial donations to support their work.

For more than 64 years, BBBSMCR has created professionally supported, one-to-one matches between children, called “Littles,” and volunteer adult mentors, called “Bigs”, to inspire, ignite and empower each child’s potential.

The goal of these relationships is that they will have a lasting impact in the child’s life. Surveys of the children indicate they do better in school, are less likely to engage in risky behavior and feel more connected to their community after just a year of mentoring.

Bigs and Littles get together two to four times a month for a minimum of one year. Their activities can range from visits to the local library and doing homework to attending sporting events or visiting museums. Bigs and Littles are matched based on common interests, and often there’s a specific goal the Little is working to accomplish.

Right now the organization has more 100 children waiting to be matched with an adult mentor, about two-thirds of them boys. One of these is Trey*, a 12-year-old sixth grader, who likes to ride his bike, play video games and walk the River Trail. His mom wants him to have a positive male role model who can teach him to respect others.

The agency serves five counties, Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Ionia and Shiawassee counties, but the majority of children waiting are in Ingham County. Volunteers undergo an intensive screening process and BBBSMCR provides training and ongoing support to help the match succeed. For information about volunteering and to sign up, visit our website:

If volunteering is not an option, a financial gift helps to fund the work of recruiting, training and supporting new matches.

Each year BBBSMCR manages about 250 matches at an average cost of $1,500 each so any amount helps. A tax-deductible gift may be made online at:

*Trey’s name has been changed due to confidentiality.

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