Big Sister Boston is immersed in the diverse communities we serve through a variety of programming. From the traditional model of one-to-one mentoring relationships to enrichment programs focused on career awareness, safety, wellness, and healthy decision-making, we are meeting the unique social-emotional needs of girls between the ages of 7-20*.
Our largest one-to-one mentoring program matches girls between the ages of 7-15 with a Big Sister. These Little Sisters meet individually with their Big Sisters at a date and time of their choosing, and engage in low- to no-cost activities that can range from baking to basketball, watching movies to simply talking with each other. Big and Little Sisters commit to at least one year together, meeting weekly for the first three months and twice per month after that.
Girls remain Little Sisters until they are 20 years old, at which point they graduate from the program and can become Big Sisters themselves!
As part of our continuum of mentoring and commitment to workforce development, Our Big Futures (OBF) is a program for currently enrolled and former Little Sisters, age 14-24, that provides coaching, support, and resources to achieve sustainable financial independence via career development and/or college success, and will continue that support from middle school to high school and *continuing to age 24.
The Director of Our Big Futures works with Little Sisters in this program to:
Provide individualized coaching
Connect Little Sisters with college- and career-focused enrichment programs and opportunities
Facilitate access to higher education scholarship support
We are more than mentoring. Our enrichment programs foster sisterhood among our Community-Based Mentoring matches while promoting girls’ physical, social, and emotional health. Activities are designed to build skills and broaden Little Sisters’ horizons at different ages and stages of development as they learn and grow alongside their Big Sisters.
This fun and educational day-long workshop is tailored to specific ages and stages of Little Sisters’ development, using a curriculum created by our professional staff. Big and Little Sisters engage in activities and discussions facilitated by a staff member that are focused on goal-setting, puberty, and sexual health.
These programs are geared toward our teenage Little Sisters. The Little Sister Board is a leadership opportunity for girls to develop their financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills through the planning of fundraisers that support teen-specific match activities. Through Teen Matches Give Back, Little Sisters and their Big Sisters volunteer for community enhancement activities throughout Greater Boston.
As soon as a girl is enrolled with us she is eligible to participate in Big for a Day while she is waiting to be matched with a Big Sister. Every month our staff hosts activities for these girls who are then matched with women for whom the weekly commitment is not a fit. The fun, skill-building activities include yoga, science projects, safety training, and scavenger hunts.
Our Site-Based Mentoring programs take place in schools and community centers in Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy. Big and Little Sisters meet once a week during the school day or their after-school program, and commit to at least three academic semesters together, excluding summer break and school holidays. During visits, they read books, learn new skills, work on projects of their mutual choosing, or engage in physical activities. Site-Based Mentoring creates a safe space for girls to have fun, learn, and grow alongside their Big Sisters during their busy school day.
In addition to our traditional Site-Based Mentoring model, we offer these specialized programs:
Girls have the opportunity to think big about their futures in this program. Workplace Mentoring pairs employees at a company with Little Sisters from a local school. Little Sisters meet with their Big Sisters at the company's office, providing a meaningful mentoring experience, and valuable career awareness.
In the Franklin Field/Boston College program, Little Sisters from Dorchester’s Franklin Field housing development meet with their Big Sisters at the BC campus where the women attend college. Girls in this program gain the guidance of a caring, adult mentor and the benefits of real-life college environment during a critical time in their development.
This unique program takes place in Dorchester with teen students from Boston Latin Academy who mentor Little Sisters at the Trotter Innovation School. The teen Big Sisters also participate in our Girls Leadership Project (GLP) facilitated by our staff. The GLP provides them with leadership training needed to have a positive impact on their schools and communities. Topics include conflict resolution, communication skills, and career exploration.
Our Life Choices program employs a group mentoring model led by one of our staff members. All-girl groups meet weekly at schools and community centers, creating a safe space for adolescent girls to openly explore the choices and challenges they face. More than merely a place free of violence, Life Choices groups foster the intimacy and mutual respect of sisterhood where girls feel comfortable expressing themselves with adults and each other. The Life Choices curriculum includes activities and discussions that increase girls’ understanding of complex gender issues and social-emotional development.