Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windham County to go statewide

BRATTLEBORO — In the interest of serving more children in Vermont with mentors, Youth Services is transitioning its successful Big Brothers Big Sisters program into a statewide organization over the next two months.

“Presently there are 70 community and school-based Big Brothers Big Sisters matches in Windham County, with more than triple the number anticipating being served statewide by the new structure,” explained Russell Bradbury-Carlin, Youth Services' Executive Director, in a news release. “In this move to serve more Vermont young people living in difficult circumstances, we are making every effort to ensure that quality mentoring services continue to be delivered in Windham County.”

The expansion has been a year-long process, he said, guided by a transition committee made up of Youth Services board members and BBBS Advisory Board members.

The new entity serving the Green Mountain State will be named Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermont. Youth Services' current director of mentoring, Kimberley Diemond, will be its executive director.

Bradbury-Carlin said mentoring is an essential part of Youth Services programs, from its transitional living program to court diversion. Staff or volunteers often work one-on-one with young people living under difficult circumstances, or in small groups. He expects his organization to maintain a close working relationship with the new entity, especially in regard to its Windham County matches.

There are over 350 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country, approximately 50 of which operate with the assistance of a sponsoring agency - an arrangement that describes the mentoring program's long and successful relationship with Youth Services.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windham County was one of the first programs Youth Services launched after it was founded in 1972 as a community nonprofit. In its nearly 45-year history together, there have been close to 2,000 matches made, some lasting a few years and others a lifetime. Their newest program is Bigs in Blue, a school-based program that pairs elementary students with local police officers.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windham County offers several flexible options for volunteers who want to mentor a child between the ages of 6 and 18. In the school-based program, volunteers visit with a child during lunch and recess period once a week.

In the community-based program, volunteers meet with a child during their own time and play sports, take a walk, or just hang out for at least four hours a month.

The site-based “plus” program combines the structure of meeting regularly at school with the option of spending time in the community on weekends and during school vacations.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates