GREAT FALLS — Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Helena & Great Falls has a new name - but its mission remains the same - to match "bigs" and "littles."
In 2015, the Big Brothers-Big Sisters organizations in Helena and Great Falls merged to become Big Brother-Big Sisters of Helena & Great Falls. Now, the non-profit has a new name, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Montana.
“Limiting ourselves to Helena and Great Falls didn’t really seem accurate and we’d been serving Boulder High School in Jefferson County for quite some time,” said Kelly McDermott, development director for Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Central Montana. “So we really wanted something that reflected our service area and our potential service area.”
That service area covers 19 counties, stretching from Granite on the west to Phillips, Fergus and Wheatland in the east, and from Jefferson in the south up to the Canadian border. There are no immediate plans to expand into those counties. The hope is the new name will streamline their social media and internet presence without changing the focus of the organization.
“We have our same executive director, the staff is the same, our offices are the same, the youth that we are currently serving in our program, no changes there and we’re still recruiting bigs,” said McDermott.
Like many non-profits, the pandemic forced Big Brothers-Big Sisters to alter their fundraising strategy, even though the need for their services increased.
“Which is why individual giving is so important to our funding,” said McDermott. “Direct donations from individuals that are not dependent on events are very important to our budget.”
Along with the change is a new address for the website: www.BigCentral.org.
According to Big Brothers-Big Sisters, studies show that investing in young people's futures pays off, with a social return on investment of $18-to-1 through improved economic, health, and social outcomes for young people with mentors. After being matched for at least one year, 89% of our Littles report improved relationships with their family, and 95% reported increased self-confidence.
McDermott estimates the program currently has about 60 matches, but can always use more.
“We do have 25 'littles' right now that are waiting for a 'big,' and 17 of those are boys,” said McDermott. “So while we encourage everyone to apply, we need bigs of all backgrounds we really do need more men in our program.”