About Us

                              Tracy Kelly - Executive Director

                              Phone: (740) 797-0037
                              Mobile: (740) 215-3917
                              Email: director@bbbsathens.org

                  Marissa Cantrell - Community Program Coordinator

                  Phone: (740) 797-0037
                  Email: mentor@bbbsathens.org

An Organization You Can Trust

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens builds the strengths of children, families and volunteers to help young people develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to make healthy and positive choices. BBBS is an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the world’s largest and most effective system of one-to-one youth mentoring, and the acknowledged leader in building professionally supported, dynamic relationships that unite children with committed volunteers. The national organization was founded in New York City in 1904 by a court clerk appalled by the suffering and misery of the thousands of children who came through his courtroom.

Locally, BBBS of Athens was established in October 1986 through the initiative of a local businessman who participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs both as a Little and as a Big. Upon moving to Athens, he joined together with several other community-minded individuals who were concerned with the plight of Appalachian children. In September 1988, BBBS of America recognized the Athens team as an “agency-in-formation” and we became a full affiliate in March 1994.

Since then, BBBS of Athens has continued to grow, serving more and more children each year. In recent years, BBBS of Athens has focused on the urgent need to significantly increase the number of children we serve, especially those at high risk. To do so, we have invested in transforming and improving every aspect of our agency – from the programs we offer, to the way we recruit volunteers, to how we deliver our services. Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring is recognized as a Blueprint Program by both US Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at University of Colorado at Boulder..

Strategic Direction - From “What We Do” to “What We Achieve”

One of the most important responsibilities of non-profit leadership is to decide how our success will be defined and for what we will be held accountable. For many years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens has been a leader in accountability for results, especially for the outcomes we seek for the children we serve. We believe that we can and should build on that position and truly set BBBS apart as a part of the solution to the problems that the children of Appalachia face. In addition to being an outstanding youth mentoring organization (what we do), we want to be known for what we achieve. To accomplish this, we have created a refined definition of success that includes three areas of focus:

• How many children we serve – We have accepted responsibility for bringing our life-changing and community-altering program to the many underserved children who “fall through the cracks.”
• How well we serve them – Several elements combine to give BBBS of Athens the opportunity to build on our strong foundation for outcomes. We are confident that we can ensure that our growth is high-quality. We have completed Impact Studies which evaluate our Community and School-Based Mentoring programs, and we have thoroughly reviewed their findings. We are seeing the power of new program technologies that are giving our agency an intensified ability to focus on and track each individual participant and match, to continuously analyze and improve the effectiveness of our operating programs.
• Which children we serve – We have developed a framework for defining the risk profile of the children we serve and identifying the level of need of a child as (low, moderate, high or very high) depending on certain environmental factors. We have also evolved toward a more strategic approach to growth, targeting more boys, children of prisoners, and minorities.

By employing these strategies we will empower the children we serve to continue to show their full positive potential, enlarging the boundaries of their lives and enriching their communities. It will also mean that BBBS of Athens will continue to be at the heart of urgent, socially relevant issues in our community.

Our Results – What We Achieve

When children participate in professionally supported mentoring relationships, the results can at first seem small: attitudes toward school get better; homework gets done; relationships with parents and teachers improve; self-confidence grows. But for an each child in our programs, these are huge positive changes and they bring positive enhancements. And it doesn’t stop there. What at first might seem insignificant ripples out and grows: an entire classroom sees improvement when one troublemaker decides that learning is fun; a child goes to college, brings skills and expertise back home, transforming her entire community with jobs and a sense of purpose; the cycle of incarceration is broken and society as a whole benefits.

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