Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge (BBBS) and Madison House’s Big Siblings program are forming a new partnership. Student volunteers through Madison House’s Big Siblings program will benefit from training and coordination with the professional staff of BBBS. BBBS will gain valuable support from Madison House’s student leadership and volunteer recruitment network on Grounds. Most importantly, the youth of Central Virginia will benefit from the partnership’s large pool of highly-trained and supervised mentors.
Join Tim Freilich, Executive Director of Madison House, Caroline Vangsnes, a Fourth Year student and the Head Program Director of Big Siblings, and Jackie Bright, Executive Director of BBBS of the Central Blue Ridge, for the official announcement on Tuesday, September 1st at 10:00 am at Commonwealth Reserve. This event will feature a Q&A session. Light refreshments will be served.
Thank you to The Cavalier Daily for this article about the partnership:
Madison House’s Big Siblings program is kicking off a new partnership with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge.
Big Brothers Big Sisters matches local kids with mentors for a couple hours each week, and many stay engaged as pen pals through the summer.
There are typically 100 to 150 children on the waitlist at any given time.
The new partnership with Madison House aims to help more than 100 children move off the waitlist and be paired with a mentor, said Executive Director Jackie Bright.
“It just seemed to make sense as we both run very similar programs,” Bright said. “We are coming together to execute an advanced big sibling program.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters casts a wide net, Bright said, working to serve children who need help with school or are struggling with bullying or gang activity. Many of the children who participate in the program have family members who are incarcerated, are living in poverty or come from single parent households in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
Madison House will continue to run Bridging the Gap, a program to mentor refugee children in Charlottesville.
The idea for collaboration came about early last spring semester, said Caroline Vangsnes, Madison House Big Siblings head director.
“[Big Brothers Big Sisters] really wanted Big Siblings to have a ton of input, and they wanted leadership at Madison House” to be involved, Vangsnes said. “They didn’t want one organization to take over the other.”
Children will be matched by the volunteers at Madison House who will be working with guidance counselors at local schools. The program will offer enhanced training and professional support for mentors.
The application process will also include an interview and a background check to ensure the program draws “really committed volunteers,” Vangsnes said.
She also said she is confident the partnership will extend beyond the current academic year.