Since 1966, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County has made a BIG impact on children's lives, leading to higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships with parents and teachers.




Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County helps youth achieve their full potential by creating and supporting one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Each child (Little) is thoughtfully matched with a caring adult mentor (Big), and then our professional staff provides meaningful support for the life of the Match. Our Matches stay together for an average of 4 years, which means deep relationships and ultimately, greater impact on the lives of each Little in our program.

We serve around 500 children each year across the greater Madison area and throughout Dane County. Our Littles represent many vibrant and diverse communities that we are proud to support. Our program is open to all youth ages 6-18 who want a mentor, and there is no cost to participate. In addition to our Littles, our network of Bigs and supporters come from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and all corners of our community.

Using our research-based service delivery model, our program helps children achieve success in school, avoid risky behaviors, improve their self-confidence, and aspire for the future. We hold ourselves accountable to our supporters by regularly measuring our impact.

With over 50 years in our community, we know that mentoring works. Here’s why:


our impact infographicNational research mirrors our local data, showing us that when a child is given a mentor, particularly in times of crisis, their life changes for the better.

National data from "MENTOR, The National Mentoring Partnership" reinforces what we see locally. They report that youth who meet regularly with their mentor are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and are 52% less likely to skip a day of school. Youth who were at risk for falling off track but had a mentor were also 130% more likely to seek out leadership positions, aligning their choices with long-term future goals. 

Mentoring has always been important, but its presence has never been more crucial for the youth we serve. At a time when many of our Littles were already facing inequities as a result of their race, income, home life, etc., the pandemic came along and widened disparities, compounded hardship, and increased their likelihood of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

But researchers studying the impact of ACEs have found that the presence of positive childhood experiences, like mentoring, can serve as a "buffer" that protects against the worst consequences of trauma. Mentoring builds stronger youth today but also does the powerful preventative work to build stronger youth tomorrow.



See our most recent annual report for more information on our achievements, statistics on Dane County Littles and Bigs, our financials, and more.

Other Ways to Get Involved

Whether you get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County as a donor, potential Big, partner, or advocate, you have the power to change a child's future for the better.