Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga History
In 1956, the Chattanooga community created a program to assist children in need. The Big Brother Movement began on January 27, 1956 when the Pastor’s Association, led by Sam Wiley, met in order to discuss the rise of juvenile delinquency due to an increase of fatherless homes.
The Big Brothers Association began when 50 male volunteers were matched to 50 boys with support from the Board President, Porter Warner, Jr., and the agency’s first Director, Irvin Jacob Richmond. The agency received its charter on January 3, 1957, and in May of 1958, the local chapter became the 34th national affiliate of Big Brothers of America. The Benwood Foundation helped finance the local chapter for the first two years of its existence. After proving its stability and usefulness, the Big Brothers Association then received funding by United Fund (United Way). Their first offices were located in the Siskin Building. In 1969, Porter Warner, Jr. led the fundraising drive to build our current facility located at 2015 Bailey Avenue.
Big Sisters was established four years later under the guidance of Stella Murphy. Miss Murphy’s brother was actively involved with the Big Brothers program, and she saw the same need for little girls within the community. Miss Murphy took her concerns to the Chattanooga Business Women’s Club who, along with the assistance of the Big Brothers Association, helped Big Sisters obtain its charter on May 10, 1961, making it the third such organization in the nation. In 1970, the local Big Brothers and Big Sisters merged, and Big Brothers of America and Big Sisters International merged in 1977. Before their 1977 merger, Big Sisters International was headquartered here in Chattanooga under the governance of their President and Chairman, Mildred Montague.
Big steps up when Little needs a new basketball coach
When Big Brother Kevin was growing up, his father wasn’t home much. He worked 13-15 hours a day. “Not once do I remember throwing a football or baseball to him,”…
The Fearless Little Brother and his Nurturing Big Sister
At 11, Little Brother Darius already has college plans. He’s going to be a Vanderbilt…
Growing Up and Giving Back
Elijah’s grandmother prayed that a mentor would come into her grandson’s life. With both his…
Selina & Corrine develop a model relationship. Selina and her Big Sister Corinne grew up…
Jack lost his father, but found a role model in Matt. Eight years after Jack…
With the help of Dan, Gabe is growing strong. Male role models were difficult to…
How does Big Brothers Big Sisters help Kasaius?
When Big Brothers Big Sisters works to match a Little with a Big, we take into account the needs, personality, interests, and goals of both the child and the adult volunteer. We introduce the Little and his or her family to the Big slowly and make sure everyone is fully committed to the match before it is made official. Little Brother Kasaius is outgoing and up for anything, so he needed a Big who was creative and had a variety of interests.
Children like Kasaius get the most out of their one-to-one relationship with their Big when the Big, the parent or guardian, and the child talk openly with their Match Support Specialist. Working as part of the team helping the child succeed, the Match Support Specialist can help identify problems, brainstorm solutions, and connect the family with essential services.
When Kasaius’ Big Brother saw the email from BBBS saying that there were spots open in a free acting class, he jumped at the chance to take Kasaius. BBBS affiliates across the country provide activities for Bigs and Littles and also alert Bigs to opportunities in the community. This enables Bigs to get to know other Bigs, who might be experiencing similar things and who might have great suggestions for more new activities.
Screening and Training
Child safety is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ highest priority. To achieve the highest standards possible, we work constantly to review and strengthen our background check systems as new best practices in the industry emerge. We also make sure our Bigs and our staff have the training and resources they need to help Littles on their path to success.