Category Archives: Volunteer

Big Sister Lindsay Snyder on Why She Chose to Become a Mentor

Big Sister Lindsay Snyder

Big Sister Lindsay Snyder

Mass Mentoring Partnership recently published a great guest post by Big Sister Lindsay  Snyder, Director of External Relations & Development at the Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA), on why she become a mentor:

A few months ago, while eating lunch at a T.G.I. Friday’s with Destyne, my Little from the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston program, she asked me why I chose to become a mentor. We were about to dig into the “Brownie Obsession,” this ridiculously delicious, dense sundae, when I said, “Well, because I was so fortunate to have so many mentors in my life, I wanted to be on the other side and give back…plus, you’re fun to be around and I’ve learned a lot from YOU.”

When I decided to become a mentor, I originally thought about it in terms of “paying it forward.” I have been blessed with several strong female mentors in my life, including my grandmother, mother and three women I used to work with at the Crittenton Women’s Union. I learned acceptance and forgiveness from my grandmother, strength and perseverance from my mother, and how to be a dedicated, passionate advocate for nonprofits from my former colleagues.

Now that I’ve been a mentor for two years, I think about the things – little and big – that I’ve learned from my Little – most of all, she keeps me in check. You need that when life gets hectic.

Read the rest of the post on Mass Mentoring Partnership’s blog.

Let’s Move: Big Sister & Alpha Kappa Alpha help girls on our wait list “Spring into Wellness”

A BFAD volunteer and her Little Sister

A Big for a Day volunteer and her Little Sister show off the tote bag they designed during the “Spring into Wellness” event held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury last month.

The First Lady is doing it;  Beyonce is doing it and by hosting a “Spring into Wellness” themed Big for a Day(BFAD) event last month,  Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority and Big Sister Association are doing it to. We are helping girls make healthy nutrition and physical activity choices.

Inspired by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, which aims to reduce childhood obesity, AKA invited 30 girls on our wait list and 30 BFAD volunteers to the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury for an afternoon filled with zumba, yoga, arts and crafts, and a healthy snacks discussion.

Esther Slack, President of the Rho Epsilon Omega Chapter of AKA said, “Hosting BFAD is an extremely rewarding experience for the three Greater Boston area chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  Since 1908, part of our sorority’s mission is to help alleviate problems concerning girls and women, so this partnership was a perfect fit.  For the second year in a row, we have heard the “Littles” say “We have to go already?!”; hearing this lets us know we are helping Big Sister achieve their goal.”
Little Sister Amber shows off her newly designed bag.

A Little Sister shows off her newly designed gym bag while drinking a nice, healthy smoothie! 

Big Sister Association’s BFAD program pairs women with Little Sisters on our wait list. This program is a wonderful way for our Little Sisters to enjoy fun activities while waiting to be matched and for women to get involved if they are unable to commit to a traditional match. Each month, Big Sister partners with a different company or service organization to sponsor a BFAD event. BFAD activities have included trips to a museum, dance workshops, and cooking classes! BFAD volunteers are women who have gone through Big Sister’s screening process and/or are in the process of becoming a Community-Based Big Sister.

Upcoming Big for a Day Events

We have several exciting BFAD activities coming up this summer, and would love for you to participate!

  • July 16 – Big Sister Summer Picnic. Join other matches for a fun-filled day including swimming, frisbee, sandcastle-building, crafts, and much more!
  • July 31 – Mini Golf. Test your mini golf skills with the Boston Chapter of the Executive Women’s Golf Association!
  • August 13 – Explore the JFK Library. Brush up on your history and politics while taking in a beautiful view of Boston and the water!

Want to sign up? Have questions? Contact Jen Gentile.

**Please note: if you are currently involved in a Community-Based match, you are not eligible to participate in Big For a Day.

Big Sister Works to Recruit More Volunteers in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan

Early this month, there were 103 girls in Dorchester waiting to be matched with a Big Sister. View more photos from the parade.

On Sunday June 5, Big Sister Staff, members of the Diversity Council and Alumnae Board, and Big and Little Sisters marched in the Dorchester Day Parade to raise awareness of our need for more volunteers from that community.

One of the challenges we face at Big Sister is engaging more women as volunteers from the neighborhoods where we serve the most girls: Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.  As you can see in the infographic below, there is a large disparity in the number of Big Sisters (purple circles) living in those neighborhoods as compared to Little Sisters (green circles).

In the three weeks since the Dorchester Day Parade, Big Sister has reduced the number of girls in Dorchester waiting to be matched with a Big Sister from 103 to 60.

Big and Little Sister by neighborhood (2010)

Big and Little Sisters by Boston neighborhood (2010 data). In 2010, 70% of all Little Sisters and 47% of all Big Sisters lived in the neighborhoods of Boston. There is a large disparity between the number of Little Sisters living in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan and East Boston as compared to the number of Big Sisters also residing in those communities. Click image to view a larger version.

This summer we are launching our Each One Reach One campaign, where we ask current Big Sisters in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan to help us recruit women they know who would make great Big Sisters.  Big Sisters know first hand that mentoring has a powerful, positive impact on a girl’s life so we’re asking them to to reach out to at least three women that they know and share their story. We hope that these stories will convince their friends, family members or colleagues to make their own commitment to becoming a Big Sister.

If you know a woman who would make a great Big Sister, ask her to visit to find out more information and to  fill out an application or have her contact Sheena Collier at

Little Sister Jada & Big Sister Heather in the Dot Day Parade. SISTERS = Smart, Inspiring, Sincere, Trustworthy, Energetic, Respectful and Supportive.

Recruiting More Big Sisters: We Need Your Help!

Big Sister Laurel and  Little Sister Barbara want you to become A Big Sister.

Big Sister Laurel & Little Sister Barbara help recruit Big Sisters.

YOU can help the 279 girls currently waiting to be matched with a Big Sister!  As a Big Sister, you know firsthand that mentoring has a powerful, positive impact on a girl’s life. We need your help to bring this experience to more of Boston’s girls.

Did you know that people are more likely to volunteer with Big Sister Association if asked by someone they know? Please help us spread the word. One of your friends, co-workers, sisters, cousins, or neighbors may become a Big Sister to a girl on our wait list just because she hears your story. By using any (or all!) of the easy suggestions below, you can enable us to match girls in Boston with a wonderful new Big Sister!

  • Promote us on Facebook & Twitter.
    Tweet while hanging out with your Little SisterLike the Big Sister Association Facebook page. These are great ways to spread the word to one friend, which turns into two friends, which turns into four, etc.
  • Help us set up an information session at your job.
    Just make the connection! Introduce us to an office manager or staff in your employer’s human resources department and we’ll do the rest. Making that first connection is often the biggest challenge when recruiting potential Big Sisters.
  • Tell us about events where we can table. We’ll do the heavy lifting! Let us know of any community, organization, or neighborhood events where we can hand out materials about becoming a Big Sister.
  • Connect us to college alumni groups/sororities/women’s groups/professional groups. Help us connect to these already established groups. You may be surprised who always wanted to be a Big Sister, but just needed a little nudge.
  • Write a post for our blog. You don’t have to be Maya Angelou; just write about your experience. Hearing from you what it’s like to be a Big Sister can help potential volunteers overcome common misconceptions and concerns.
  • Host a house party. Summer is a great time to get together with friends and family! Why not turn it into something that gives back to the community by allowing a Big Sister representative to speak to the group while everyone enjoys food and drinks?
Email Sheena Collier at if you would like more information on any of these options.

It’s National Volunteer Week!

Little Sister Roseanne & Big Sister Joy Falk showing off their creativity at the 2010 Halloween Party.

In celebration of National Volunteer Week, we would like to thank our Big Sisters who collectively volunteered over 170,000 hours to mentor 2567 girls last year!

City Councilor Ayanna Pressley & her Little Sister Arianna

Little Sister Ashley & Big Sister Kerri Norris at Mentoring Night at Fenway Park 2010

Little Sister Victoria & Big Sister Jessica Reardon at the 2010 Walk for Hunger

See more pictures of our Big Sisters and Little Sisters on Facebook.

To learn more about becoming a Big Sister contact us at ,  call us at 617-236-8060 or visit our website.

Big Sister goes back to school!

Have you ever thought about becoming a Big Sister, but didn’t think you had the time to make the commitment?  Did you know that Big Sister Association offers the opportunity to volunteer on your lunch break during the week?  Our School-Based Mentoring program offers the opportunity for women with busy schedules to mentor a girl at various Boston schools near where they work.  Now that schools are back in session, we’re looking for more women to become School-Based Big Sisters!

Instead of eating lunch at your desk or grabbing a quick bite from the fast food place around the corner, you could spend 45 minutes to an hour, one day a week throughout the school year, making a difference in the life of an elementary school age girl.  School-Based Big and Little Sisters meet at the girl’s school during her lunch time and do everything from playing board games and reading books, to arts and crafts, shooting hoops, or just talking about what’s going on in the Little Sister’s life.

It may seem simple, but the impact that your attention, support, and consistency have on your Little Sister is big.  “I think the Big Sister program is great for the girls in my room…I know all the girls really look forward to the days their Big Sisters visit and always come back feeling really great.  It is also important that these girls, who are often shy in class, have a time where they don’t have to hold back or feel nervous, but can be the center of attention,” said Joanna Pfister, a fourth grade teacher at the Hurley Elementary School in the South End. 

Additionally, according to our Program Outcome Evaluations, which are completed by the girl’s teacher:

  • 79% of School-Based Little Sisters demonstrated improved trust toward others
  • 79% of School-Based Little Sisters also showed improved class participation
  • 75% of School-Based Little Sisters showed an improved ability to use school resources

According to a study published in March 2009 by Dr. Jean Rhodes of UMass Boston, which examines the impact of mentoring with regard to gender, girls who have a School-Based Big Sister show greater academic gains.  Girls with School-Based Big Sisters also demonstrate improved peer relationships and lower stress levels (The Role of Gender in Mentoring: A Three-Part Study, Rhodes and Litchfield, March 2009).

Now is the time to make a difference. Big Sister offers our School-Based Mentoring program at schools right near your office!  If you are interested in learning more about becoming a School-Based Big Sister, click here.