Featrue: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga

My Town Tuesday is our summer series highlighting nonprofits in the Chattanooga area.

This week, I spoke with Ansley Kellermann, Marketing and Special Events Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Greater Chattanooga.

BBBS has been in the area for 60 years and has done a considerable amount of work in that time. BBBS serves Hamilton, Bradley, Marion, Walker, Catoosa, and Dade Counties.

BBBS is the oldest and largest mentoring organization in the nation who provides one-on-one mentoring for children ages 6 to 12 who are from single parent households. BBBS matches children (who are recommended by their teacher or signed up by a parent) with an adult volunteer, who spends about 4 to 6 hours a month with the child.

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BBBS operates two core programs: The Site-Based Program where the volunteer spends time with a child at their school or site, and the Community-Based Program where the volunteer spends time with a child outside of school.

“We’re there to be their friend and encourager,” said Kellermann. “We’re not there to replace the role of the parent, but to enhance the child’s life.”

BBBS is in great need of volunteers, especially male volunteers. 145 children in the Greater Chattanooga area are currently in need of a match, and 80% are boys.

“We do a lot to make sure we match children with compatible volunteers,” said Kellerman. “We take into account interests, location, and personality to make the best match possible.”

Kellermann stressed that the time commitment isn’t high and that children really benefit from the program.

“You don’t have to change your life to change a child’s life,” Kellermann said. “It’s been shown that kids who meet with a ‘Big’ for one year are 46% less likely to use illegal drugs than their peers.”

If you are interested in helping as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga, you can visit their website here for more information.

BBBS has two fundraisers coming up as well: a Golf Classic on September 30th, Canyon Ridge Golf Cours, and a PokeCrawl Fundraiser on August 6th.

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