Monthly Archives: February 2011

Big Sister Recruitment Calendar: Week of February 21st, 2011


President’s Day
All day!

“This February holiday has become well-known for being a day in which many stores, especially car dealers, hold sales.” (Wikipedia) . Is this really what America has been reduced to? Rushing out to get the best deal on a new car? Instead of trying to get the best deal, take a moment to reflect on your life. Do you really need a new toy? Can your money and time be better spent elsewhere?

For more information on how to donate or volunteer at Big Sister Association visit us at or call us at 617.236.8060

Babson College Tennis Team Meeting Presentation
Tuesday, February 22nd from 4-5 p.m.
Webster Athletic Center at Babson College

Grove Hall Library
Wednesday, February 23rd from 3-5 p.m.

Hill Holiday Informational Session
Wednesday, February 23rd from 3-4 p.m.
53 State Street

Wonder Women of Boston Networking Event
Thursday, February 22nd from 6-8:30 p.m.
Antler Agency
181 South St
Boston, MA 02111

Looking for a Good Read? Big Sister Recommends

Big Sister Recommends

Chances are, you’re still spending most of your free time inside. While you’re waiting for the weather to get warmer, not why head to the library or check out Amazon for these titles about the power of mentoring:

Stand by Me: The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today’s Youth by Jean E. Rhodes.

From Booklist:

Rhodes, a psychology professor, examines the popularity of mentoring programs and their effectiveness in improving the prospects of disadvantaged youth. She particularly focuses on research involving the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, the best-known youth-mentoring organization, showing that at-risk youth who are mentored through structured programs are more likely to succeed.

The Person Who Changed My Life: Prominent People Recall Their Mentors by Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Editor with foreword by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Amazon Description:

At some point in the odyssey of our lives, most of us have been affected by caring adults who made a difference: their advice, their guidance, their example led us to encounter the world. The Person Who Changed My Life is a collection of essays in which individuals who have distinguished themselves in their fields write about the men and women who served as their mentors. Among the contributors are Walter Cronkite, Larry King, Dr. Arthur Caliandro, Elie Wiesel, Marian Wright Edelman, Julia Child, Gloria Estefan, and Dina Merrill.

Because You Believed in Me: Mentors and Protégés Who Shaped Our World by Marcia McMullen and Patricia Miller.

From the Publisher:

Because You Believed in Me uses stories of real people—Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Claude Monet and Eugene Boudin, Ulysses S.Grant and Abraham Lincoln—to demonstrate the powerful benefits of mentoring. The relationships of these and other historical pairs are explored throughout this book to illuminate the inherent value of mentoring. What if Eugene Boudin had not encouraged Monet to paint in the out of doors? Could anyone else have inspired him to abandon studio painting and venture into the beauty of landscapes? As with this case, mentors open worlds of possibilities for their proteges. Even brilliant people need heroes.

Or check out a couple new books from the New York Times bestseller list that are focused on women and girls:

Read them already? Comment below and tell us what you think! What other books would you like to suggest for a good read?

“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Big Sister Recruiting Calendar: Week of February 14th, 2011

Valentine’s Day

All day!

Follow the advice of advice columnist, Dear Abby:

Be a sweetheart and clean out your closets. Take any items you no longer wear (or can’t fit into) and donate them so someone else can enjoy them.**  Call your friends and say ‘I love you.’ Bring flowers to someone in a nursing home. Offer to run an errand for someone who doesn’t drive.

Donate blood; pay someone a compliment; listen to your teenager; pray for your friends; or invite a lonely acquaintance — male or female — to join you for lunch. Obey the traffic laws. Do something nice for someone anonymously. And, before the day is over, resolve to be a ‘sweetheart’ more often than just today.

** Big Brother Big Sister Foundation collects donations of gently used clothing and household items, sells them to thrift stores, and makes a profit which is then returned to local BBBS agencies. For more information or to schedule a pickup visit:

Recruitment session at Tremont Credit Union in Dorchester for Holland Elementary School
Tuesday, February 15th from 10-11 a.m.
180 Mt Vernon St.
Dorchester, MA (inside Boston Teacher’s Union)

Eastern Nazarene College
Wednesday, February 16th from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Wellesley Women in Science Job & Internship Fair
Wednesday, February 16th from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Tishman Commons, Lulu Wang Campus Center

Recruitment table at Huntington Ave YMCA
Wednesday, February 16th from 3-7 p.m.

Grove Hall Library
Wednesday, February 16th from 3-5 p.m.

Big Sister Association 60 Year Celebration!
Keynote speaker, Diane Patrick, First Lady of Massachusetts!
Thursday, February 17th from 6-8 p.m.
Artists for Humanity EpiCenter
100 West 2nd Street
Celebrating 60 Invite 

Boston’s College Students: A Resource to Organizations

One of Boston’s biggest assets is its variety of higher education opportunities, which attract thousands of students from all over the world. There are 52 institutions of higher education here, with the enrollment ranging from 100 students to more than 30,000. This surplus of smart, talented, ambitious young people is not only beneficial in making Boston a hub of innovation, it is also a significant resource to organizations like Big Sister Association. 

On February 1, Linda Matchan wrote an article for the Boston Globe entitled “Volunteering Spirit Catches Fire” (read here). The article is an account of the rise in volunteerism among Millennials (people under 30) in the Boston area. According to the Globe article:

“Where their boomer parents may have been inclined to put their idealism and energy into protest and rebellion, today’s young men and women are civic-minded, less determined to change the social order, and more inclined to make the world a better place…” 

Among our Big Sister volunteers, women under 25 account for approximately 35%. That number has stayed fairly constant over the past few years, and is proportionately in line with the population of the City, which is said to rise 1/3 during the school months.

These students clearly have an intense desire to volunteer, but may need opportunities that require flexibility around class schedules and school vacations. Many college women in our area take advantage of Big Sister’s more flexible volunteer opportunities, which fit with their lifestyle and allow them to have a big impact on a girl.

Our School-Based Mentoring program matches a Big Sister in a one-to-one mentoring relationship with a Little Sister at the girl’s elementary school. This is a great opportunity for college students (and even corporate women working in the city) to spend time with a girl right in her own backyard during her lunch break.  These Big and Little Sisters meet during the Little Sister’s lunch time throughout the academic year, and are encouraged to keep in touch via letters or e-mails over the summer months. For more information on our School-Based Mentoring, or to apply, visit

We also offer a monthly volunteer opportunity that will fit even the busiest student’s schedule.  Big for a Day (BFAD) allows girls on our waiting list (more than 300!) to participate in Big Sister-sponsored events interact with women mentors while they wait to be match with their own Big Sister. Activities range from dance and yoga classes, to ice skating, crafting, or museum visits. To volunteer as a Big for a Day women must be at least 20 years old and complete a one-hour screening process. The BFAD events are one Saturday each month, take place during the day, and usually last for 2-4 hours. If you are interested in volunteering or hosting a BFAD please contact Jennifer at We are thrilled to have so many wonderful Bigs and the prospect for even more talented mentors for our Little Sisters!

“How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world.  How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution…how we can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness” – Anne Frank

Invest in Girls

Illustration by Gerard Dubois for TIME

Illustration by Gerard Dubois for TIME

The benefits are so obvious, you have to wonder why we haven’t paid attention. Less than 2¢ of every development dollar goes to girls — and that is a victory compared with a few years ago, when it was more like half a cent. Roughly 9 of 10 youth programs are aimed at boys. One reason for this is that when it comes to lifting up girls, we don’t know as much about how to do it. We have to start by listening to girls, which much of the world is not culturally disposed to do.—To Fight Poverty, Invest in Girls by Nancy Gibbs, Time, Feb. 14, 2011

According to the article from which that quote was taken, fewer than 1 in 5 girls make it to secondary school in sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly half are married by the time they are 18; 1 in 7 girls across the developing world marry before they are 15 and get pregnant shortly thereafter. The leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 worldwide is not accident or violence or disease; it is complications from pregnancy. Girls under 15 are up to five times more likely to die while having children than women in their 20s. Their babies are more likely to die as well.

At Big Sister, we know that investing in girls locally is just as crucial as investing in them globally. Consider this: In 2008, 595 children were born to teenage mothers between the ages of 15 and 19 in Massachusetts, according to a study by The Alan Guttmacher Institute, as reported by the Mass Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. Big Sister has been “lifting up” girls since 1951. We encourage girls to live up to their full potential by providing them with strong female mentors. These are women who most often are simply there to listen; the point at which Gibbs urges us to begin.

There is no doubt that whether it is in Malawi or right here in Boston, we need to increase the investment made in girls. That investment is one of time, of money, and of open ears, hearts, and minds when it comes to addressing the specific needs of girls. We can also encourage girls to invest in each other. That is the mission of Girl Up, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation that Gibbs references in her article. If you are a Big Sister, we encourage you to visit your Little Sister. Perhaps it will spark a conversation about girls supporting girls locally and globally…and get others to start talking about what it really means to invest in girls.

To read Time Magazine’s number one most emailed article, “To Fight Poverty, Invest in Girls” click here.

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

– Margaret Mead

For more information on how to become a Big Sister, apply on our website at or call 617.236.8060.

Check out where Big Sister will be this week!

Big Sister Events Calendar week of February 7th, 2011

Bunker Hill Community College Community Service and Internship Fair

Wednesday, February 9th from 9- 1:00 p.m.


Boston University Non-Profit Fair

Wednesday, February 9th from 3-7p.m.

Metcalf Ballroom of BU’s George Sherman Union

775 Commonwealth Avenue

We will be here with Big Brother! Be sure to bring any men you think would make great mentors!


ASPIRE Volunteer Open House

Wednesday, February 9th at 6:30 p.m.

Finale in Coolidge Corner

1306 Beacon Street

Brookline, MA 02446


On Your Feet Project Board Meeting

Wednesday, February 9th from 7-8p.m.

MIT (map)      


Diversity council meeting

Wednesday, February 9th from 6-8 p.m!/group.php?gid=123631872980


Women’s Network Breakfast, Boston Chamber

Thursday, February 10th from 7:30-9 a.m.

Fairmont Copley


Constellation Pharmaceuticals Cambridge

Thursday, February 10th from 11a.m.-12 p.m.

Grove Hall Library

Thursday, February 10th from 1-3 p.m.


Imparting a Legacy of Change – Women Working Together: Writing the Next Chapter of herSTORY

Friday, February 11th from 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Northeastern University Curry Student Center

Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley on the Power of Mentoring Girls

Guest blogger, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, weighs in on the power of mentoring girls.

City Councilor Ayanna Pressley & her Little Sister Arianna

National Mentoring Month has come to a close.

But I’m not paying any attention to that.

For me, recruiting new Big Sisters and mentors is a year-round activity. The need is greater than ever. Shouldn’t our efforts reflect that urgency?

As Big Sisters, as witnesses to the power of mentoring, it is our responsibility to make recruiting mentors a year-round priority. We can speak firsthand about the impact we’ve had on our Littles Sister’s lives and the impact they have had on our lives. We understand potential mentors’ apprehensions about becoming a Big Sister because at some point we probably had those same questions and concerns.

I’ve launched ABC- Ayanna’s BIG Challenge, a year-long initiative to recruit Big Sisters and mentors for young people living in the Boston neighborhoods with the longest waiting lists for adult mentors. I attended a Big Sister Association event at the Bromley-Heath Housing Development last year and met parents whose daughters were Little Sister. Through joyful tears, these parents spoke about the impact the Big Sisters had on their daughters’ lives.

The Bromley-Heath parents I met were good people. They were working hard to provide for their families and give their children a better and brighter future. But these are difficult economic times and many of the parents were working multiple jobs. They worked long hours out of necessity, sacrificing precious time with their children in order to pay for the essentials. Knowing their daughters had Big Sisters gave these parents peace of mind that their little girls were getting the guidance, support and inspiration they needed to be successful and safe in their own lives.

Peace of mind is a powerful and precious thing for any parent. Let’s work in 2011 to ease more parents’ minds. Let’s commit ourselves to recruit more Big Sisters and mentors and make 2011 the year when there were no waiting lists.

We know the difference mentoring can make. We may have turned the page on January but we shouldn’t turn our backs on the girls and families in need of a Big Sister. Thank you.

Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Council Member

For more info on how to become a Big Sister–even just one day a month in the Big for a Day program–click here!