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.




Our unique brand of one-to-one mentoring, in which a child is carefully matched with a caring adult mentor in a relationship supported by professional Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County staff, changes lives for the better forever.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County seeks to support children facing adversity between 6 and 18 years of age. Our network of volunteers, donors, and supporters comes from all walks of life, all backgrounds, all corners of the country.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County helps children achieve success in school, helps them avoid risky behaviors such as getting into fights and trying drugs and alcohol, and helps them improve their self-confidence. 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:

A report from the National Mentoring Partnership based on a nationwide survey of young people found that youth (especially those who are at-risk) who have mentors are “more likely to report engaging in productive and beneficial activities than youth without a mentor.” Violence prevention research has found that building and maintaining “positive relationships between young people and caring adults in their community” is a key protective strategy in the prevention of youth violence.

The success of the BBBS program is directly related to our ability to use data and research to continually demonstrate and improve our effectiveness. In 2009, a study conducted by Harris Interactive demonstrated that mentoring through a Big Brothers Big Sisters program is linked to helping kids break the cycle of poverty. The national study found adults mentored as children through BBBS are more likely than peers with similar backgrounds, but who were not involved in the program, to have a four-year college degree, incomes of $75,000 or more, and strong relationships with spouses, children, and friends.

Since 1966, we have seen BIG changes in children’s lives, leading to higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships with parents and teachers. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County has been making meaningful, professionally supported matches between adult volunteers and children, and we are grateful to have provided quality mentoring over the last five decades and yet we know the next 50 years can and should be filled with even more impact and growth.

Littles with a Big Report:

report feeling socially accepted
have better relationships with parents and teachers
are less likely to try drugs or alcohol

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.

Relationship Management

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.

Other Ways to Get Involved

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