celebrating 50 years
Nationally, we’ve been impacting the lives of children for over 100 years.
But in Middle Tennessee, we're honored to be celebrating 50 years of changing children's lives for the better all year long in 2019.
And there will be lots of cake and ice cream.
In 1969, a group of young civic leaders and human service professionals shared a concern and a vision. The concern was for the alarming number of young boys with an absent father who were entering our juvenile justice system. Since this time, this organization has affected the lives of thousands of our community’s children.
Originally serving only boys, the organization quickly saw the need to mentor girls in Middle Tennessee and joined the local United Way. The primary focus of the organization was community-based one-to-one mentoring. The agency later began a school-based mentoring program in partnership with the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.
Originally known as Buddies of Nashville, but always an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the organization officially adopted the name Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee in 1999 to reflect the changing demographic of the Middle Tennessee population with so many relocating professionals wishing to volunteer. That same year Big Brothers Big Sisters began a Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in Robertson county matching volunteers over 55 years of age with kindergarten through third grade children.
In 2001, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee added a new mentoring program where high school students mentor elementary and middle school students. In 2004, Big Brothers Big Sisters was awarded a three-year grant to begin the Amachi mentoring program mentoring children of prisoners, an endeavor which has significantly increased the agency’s size and scope.
Recognizing a need in Rutherford County, the agency operated a satellite office in Murfreesboro in 2007.
In 2008, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee completed their Capital Campaign and relocated to their new larger home in the Midtown Millworks Building, 1704 Charlotte Avenue in Nashville as part of the Youth Opportunity Center collaboration. That same year the agency was honored by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for implementing one of the top Mentoring Children of Prisoners programs in the country for their efforts with the Amachi program.
In 2017, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee added a new e-mentoring program serving high school students with mentors through three in person meetings, and weekly online exercises and collaborative messaging. Also in 2017, the agency recognized a shift in area traffic patterns and consumer needs, and partnered with the Lyft ride share service allowing school based volunteers with commute concerns able to serve as mentors.
We've had a lot of changes over the years, that's for sure.
But everything we have done has had a common purpose - mentoring young people in Middle Tennessee changing their lives for the better.
The young people we serve have the potential to change the world. And together, we can defend that potential.