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After 64 Years, Big Brothers Big Sisters Westchester Is Going Solo

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Part of Family Services of Westchester for decades, the beloved non-profit strikes out on its own as an independent 501(c)(3).

In a monumental move, the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter that has historically served Westchester and Putnam counties has become an independent non-profit organization. Now known as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Westchester County Inc., the organization has its own 501(c)(3) distinction. This comes after 64 years of being sponsored by Family Services of Westchester, the social service agency that has been serving some of the most vulnerable parts of the county.

This separation will allow BBBS to not only increase its programs but to match even more children with positive role models in the community. The regional chapter of the federation of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America will now be headquartered at 10 Midland Avenue in Port Chester.

“This is the logical next step in the evolution of our mission to help the youth of Westchester and Putnam counties achieve their full potential,” says Valerie Brown, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Westchester County, Inc.  “We are extremely excited about increasing our powerful programs and overall presence in our community during 2022 and beyond.”

“As this transformation takes place, Family Services of Westchester will continue to refer children in need of mentors to our organization, as we will continue to refer our families to FSW for much-needed ancillary services,” adds Brown. “We have built a strong support network with them these past six decades, and that’s something that will not change for our children and families, who can expect the same conscientious level of care and collaboration in all of our programs.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Westchester County, Inc. is a youth mentoring organization that serves children who face adversity in New York’s Westchester and Putnam counties to help keep them in school and away from violence and substance abuse, while assisting them to achieve their full potential in life. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is the oldest and largest youth mentoring program in the United States, with 238 agencies in over 5,000 communities.

Independence from FSW will allow BBBS of Westchester to expand its mission to serve more children in need and attract more volunteers by broadening geographic and programmatic areas. Brown notes that organizational independence from FSW will also help streamline the BBBS grant application process, reduce intra-agency competition for various capital supply and allow the new chapter to participate in, and benefit from, national BBBS fundraising initiatives.

The BBBS of Westchester County is wasting no time on launching into its current initiatives. Right now, the nonprofit is focusing on “Community-Based Mentoring,” through which children between the ages of seven and 17 (Littles) who are facing adversity are matched with adult role models, ages 21 or older (Bigs), to spend four to six hours of time together during two scheduled low- or no-cost outings per month. BBBS is also zeroing in on “Site-Based Mentoring,” in which Littles enjoy structured activities with their Bigs, including homework help, art projects, games, career exploration, and one-on-one quality time. The nonprofit would even like to expand the area of “Waitlist Events,” or fun, monthly group events like bingo and bowling designed for children who are waiting to be matched with an adult mentor. For Littles who might not be little for too much longer, the program “Big Futures College and Vocational Training” provides educational guidance to help Littles graduate from high school and earn scholarships to colleges or post-secondary vocational programs. BBBS is also shifting with the times, recognizing the need for virtual tutoring for students, and is now offering a two-hour-per-week program during the school year to help children with their studies and homework.

A ceremonial Open House Ribbon Cutting event in the new office space is targeted for early spring and, as always, the organization’s Annual Appeal will occur in February. To learn more visit  www.bigswestchester.org for information on becoming a Big, to donate and for a calendar of upcoming events.


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