Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston (JBBBS) aims to transform lives through one-to-one relationships. JBBBS’ comprehensive mentoring program pairs children aged 6-18 with a Big who provides role-modeling, encouragement, and friendship.
Each year, JBBBS serves nearly 200 children and teens from more than 90 towns in Greater Boston, including Metrowest, and the North and South Shores. JBBBS supports children and their whole families providing financial support, camp and college scholarships, coaching, referrals to other social services agencies and holiday programming.
Our Community program matches children with a volunteer Big. Match pairs meet twice a month and spend time doing activities they mutually enjoy. Some catch up over ice cream at J.P. Licks, stroll Blue Hill Reservation, cheer on the Sox or some other activity they mutually enjoy, subject to parental approval.
There is no cost to the family for participation in outings, and the Big typically provides transportation. To learn more about the program, please contact us.
The agency also operates child mentoring programs at participating elementary schools. In the School program, children meet their volunteer Big once a week for lunch or recess. There, they enjoy conversation, board games, arts and crafts, basketball – and the list goes on!
Currently, the agency operates School Programs in Newton and Needham. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about the program.
Now in its second year, JBBBS LGBTQ+ program pairs LGBTQ+ youth with LGBTQ+ identified mentors (21+) who can uniquely empathize and support youth through similar lived experiences.
LGBTQ+ mentors may be role models for identity development, resilience and helping explore strategies to overcome stigma and bias. Mentors may also provide a positive sense of self and increased ease with one’s identity. Adults who have navigated the difficulty of understanding, sharing and accepting “otherness” may play a powerful role in supporting youth going through similar experiences.
In-person mentoring relationships may serve an important protective role for LGBTQ+ youth, helping them to confront challenges such as lack of acceptance from peers and parents. In particular, Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming youth have reported that having identity affirming support has increased resilience, self-advocacy skills and shown improved career and educational goals.
Our community includes people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, races, religions, and backgrounds!
Twice a month commitment for at least one year, mentor training will be provided
To learn more about the program, please contact us.
College Mentoring Program
JBBBS’ College Mentoring program guides and supports students from the application process through the early years of college, placing them on a path to graduation and career success.
High school juniors and seniors are provided with a 1:1 college counselor to help them navigate the application process. Students also get paired with a mentor. Mentors bolster the work of college counselors by helping their mentee find the right college fit, visit campuses, brainstorm essay ideas, develop resumes, research scholarships, and think about what they want to get out of the college experience. Once a student matriculates, mentors continue to offer practical and social-emotional support as their mentee navigates the adjustment to their new college environment, considers career options, and builds a social network.
This program is open to qualifying high school juniors and seniors who exhibit strong motivation to attend college. Students must meet two of the following three criteria for eligibility:
- First generation U.S. college attendee
- From a low-income family
- Have experienced adversity that may impact their ability to succeed at college without supplemental support.
Preference is given to current and former JBBBS Littles.
Mentors are college-educated, empathic, good listeners, resourceful, flexible and self-aware.
Matches meet two times per month from the second half of the 11th grade year through at least the student’s first year of college, making the minimum time commitment approximately 2-2.5 years. However, matches ideally stay connected through graduation.
Interested in enrolling a student? Contact us
Interested in learning more about volunteering with the College Mentoring program? Contact Tania@JBBBS.org
Type 1 Diabetes Initiative
The Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Program is a unique collaboration between Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (JBBBS) and JDRF (formerly known as Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). The program pairs youth living with T1D with mentors who are also living with T1D.
While everyone living with type 1 diabetes has their own unique journey, many find that living with diabetes can be very hard. Having a mentor that understands the many ways diabetes can impact daily life has been shown to be beneficial in social, emotional, and academic health.
Participants in the program can discuss their own unique diabetes journey if they choose. However, they can also choose to just spend time doing activities together that they mutually enjoy. Pairs will decide what feels best for their Littles to feel most supported. This program is structured with most current diabetes medical and safety protocols.
To enroll a child contact Jessica Post at Jessica@JBBBS.org
The Family Experience
JBBBS staff are here to support our participants and their families through every step of their participation with us. Our staff are deeply involved in selecting the best matches for our participants and volunteers so that everyone will have a meaningful and impactful experience. JBBBS clinical match specialists (CMS) are there throughout the process through monthly phone and e-mail check-ins and are always available to address any questions or concerns that may pop up. They remain available to help volunteers brainstorm activities and to field questions and concerns as they arise.
JBBBS clinical match specialists are all Master’s level clinicians who are experienced in supporting not only our participants, but also their families - making sure their collective needs are met.
Whether you are a volunteer or a participant, you are in good hands with the JBBBS staff. Learn more about our staff!
Interest in our participants extends to their families: understanding – and respecting – the nuances of their relationships with parents, guardians, and siblings. It’s about respecting family history, cultural influence and life experience and working together to identify ways to support the participant, and their family, toward meeting their goals.
JBBBS clinical match specialists are all Master’s level clinicians who are experienced in supporting the whole family and making sure their collective needs are met. If a participant has a guardian, they may be actively involved in the process of identifying a right-fit volunteer for the participant. And, in addition to monthly phone check-ins with parents and guardians, our team of dedicated Programs staff remains available to the participant’s family through the duration of the match, offering short-term counseling and referrals to support services as needed. Financial assistance is also available to qualifying families experiencing economic hardship.
"There are not enough words to express my gratitude. The connections have impacted our family in so many wonderful ways. My daughter’s Big Sister has become family. This magical match has filled her life, and our life, with such joy for over three years."
- Beth, Children’s Program parent
JBBBS programs serve Jewish and non-Jewish families from a variety of life circumstances. We work with kids from single- and two-parent families of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Some may be going through challenging times: struggling socially or academically, confronting their own (or a parent’s or sibling’s) disabilities or medical or mental health concerns. Others are new immigrants to the United States and working hard to get adjusted to life in Greater Boston. Some have experienced a recent (or not so recent) divorce and, some, the death of a parent or sibling.
Still, others could simply benefit from the additional positive role modeling a mentor provides. Or we hear from moms and dads who are single parents by choice and who’ve recognized the benefit to growing their own and their child’s support systems to include a mentor.
Regardless of your family’s situation, please contact us if you know a child who would benefit from one of our programs.