Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America History

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America traces its roots back to 1904 with a young court clerk from New York City named Ernest Kent Coulter laying the foundations. He was noticing that many young boys were coming to his courtroom with small criminal charges, which was when he realized that if only there were adults who could care for these boys and mentor them, then there would be fewer boys in his courtroom since they would stay out of trouble. He then set out to find volunteers for these boys which marked the start of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters in New York City. This also marked the beginning of the Big Brothers movement and by 1916 the movement has spread out to 96 cities all over the country.

Around that same time, some members of another group called the Ladies of Charity were also befriending girls who came from the Children's Court of New York. They did similar work as the Big Brothers movement, mentoring your girls and keeping them out of trouble. Their group later became known as the Catholic Big Sisters of New York. Until 1977, both groups worked independently, but later on the Big Sisters International joined forces with the Big Brothers Association and hence became known as the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.

The Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America with its more than 100 years of history has always believed that every child has the inherent ability to be successful in life. The positive relationships developed between the "Bigs" and the "Littles" were proven to have a direct and lasting effect to the young people (ages 6-8), nurturing them to succeed later in life. Even former "Littles" would agree that their "Bigs" have instilled them with principles and values that helped guide them in life. Currently, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America operates in all 50 US states and in 12 countries around the world.


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