Every agency has goals in place to help with individuals as well as their needs. Goals include improving peoples health, enhancing their quality of life, increasing autonomy and independence, supporting families, and helping people and larger systems improve their functioning in the macro social environment (Barker, 2003). Any agency plays a huge role in creating a positive atmosphere as well as qualified staff to help meet their goals and help their clients. If an agency has a strong organizational structure, than they will be able to make a great impact in their communities.
One agency that is well respected and creating a positive change nationally, is Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas. Big Brothers Big Sisters is located at 202 Baltimore Avenue, San Antonio, Texas 78215. BBS is a non-profit organization founded in 1904 by Ernest Coulter. Ernest Coulter, a court clerk from New York City, started New York Big Brothers when he saw a lack of guidance in the lives of children who were caught up in the Juvenile court system. Locally, BBS of South Texas has served the San Antonio community since 1978. The agency has grown to serve youth ages 5-21 in Tacos, Boxer, Cameron, Comma, Guadalupe,
Holding, Kendall, Globule, Ounces, San Patricia, Webb and Wilson counties. In 2012, BBS served over 2,900 youth in one-to-one mentoring relationships. BBS started as a small organization, but has become Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Today, BBS primarily serves as a preventative program, working to keep at-risk children from becoming another statistic. Boss mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
Their vision is that all hillier achieve success in life. Big Brothers Big Sisters has three specific programs that are offered for children ranging from the ages of five years of age to seventeen years of age. The first is the Community-Based. In this program the child and mentoring volunteer are encouraged to participate in everyday activities such as sports, movies or attending an agency-sponsored event. The second program is the School-Based. In this program the mentoring volunteer visits their child at their schools for one hour, once a week.
During this time, they eat lunch, work on homework, read or converse. The third program is the Workplace-Based Program. This is where the child visits their mentoring volunteer at their workplace once a month. This allows the child to see their mentors workplace and learn about the importance of completing high school and future career exploration. These programs are beneficial to the child and their interaction with human relationships. Boss services are completely free. Any child from any culture or background can be a part of the mentoring programs offered at this agency.
The common demographics of a child served by the BBS program are 72 of the children live in single-parent should, 52 have household income levels of 14,999 or below, 19 have a household income between 15,000 and 24,999 58 are Hispanic rare African American 8 multi-racial and 1 Asian 27 have a parent or family member incarcerated or on probation or parole. This agency serves girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 17. Due to this diverse group of youth, the professional personnel are trained when dealing with cultural competency.
Although BBS serve all cultures, Hispanic children tend to be served more than any other population. The staff has to adapt when dealing with Hispanic populations in order to incorporate practices that are signed and tailor made instead of a one fits all approach. BBS is located in the Downtown Area of San Antonio. Their location accessibility is easy to find and has bus routes to and from their building. Their parking lot is limited and is only assigned to their staff members. This makes a difficult situation when a visiting client or volunteer attempts to find a parking space.
This agency is located in an area that is older than other parts of the city, therefore making it more prone to crime. Since safety is a concern for the staff, each member has a badge to get into he office. The office stays locked at all times and only allows the front receptionist to open when the need arises. BBS has more than 25 staff members. They are committed to enhancing their agency mission and vision. Their warmth and reception to their clients is a great representation of an agency. They treat everyone with respect and dignity and are very appreciative of their mentoring volunteers.
They work hard to make sure every child has a mentor and try to make the process a great experience for both the child and mentoring volunteer. The workspace at BBS is rather small. Most of the staff shares offices with one another, making it difficult to concentrate when working. Their work building is small and compact, which makes it challenging when planning meetings or appointments. The staff has no privacy when dealing with personal matters. Although this is the case, the staff members remain positive and make the best out of their space limitations.
They strive to contribute success to their organization, despite their confined space. The organizational structure at BBS is clearly defined. The board of directors is chosen and then a President is set in place. Under the President are staff members who run the daily operations of the agency. The decisions are made from top to bottom. The board of directors and the President decide what is best for the organization. The staff has minimal input regarding decisions. However, the staff can make suggestions as well as include input about their programs. This allows the leadership to see what is working and what is not.
The leadership seems organized and structured. The management style of the supervisor is a democratic leadership. A democratic leader emphasizes open discussion of issues, even uncomfortable ones such as disagreements among group members or hostility toward the group leader (Skirts-Ashman, K. K. (2011) peg. 70). The management is interested in the other staff members and their concerns. A major goal at BBS is to create a positive working environment for their staff. They do so, by creating an open line of communication within its staff members. Big Bothers Big Sisters does a great Job working with diverse clients.
The staff shows no biases or Judgments when dealing with such a diverse group. They have Native American, African American and Latino Mentoring Councils. Having these diverse councils, allows for Big Brothers Big Sisters to have the ability to reach all populations doing approaches such as these. They also have interpreters who may need to help people when communicating in another language. It is vital for agencies to set in place specific strategies that target their clients served. BBS has child recruitment strategies and volunteer recruitment strategies.
The child recruitment strategies are when BBS goes to schools and talks with teachers, coaches, counselors and after school programs about the agency. This allows for people in the school system to hear about the agency and recruit the children who may be in need off mentor. The volunteer recruitment strategies are presentations that are done for companies, organizations and military, universities and fairs. This allows for potential volunteers to hear about the program in hopes to volunteer to be a mentor for a child. Other ways BBS strategies is by social media and websites.
Every organization has theoretical frameworks that are implemented into their agencies. Big Brothers Big Sisters main theory that is applied o their clients is the strengths perspective. The strengths perspective focuses on client resources, capabilities, knowledge, abilities, motivations, experience, intelligence, and other positive qualities that can be put to use to solve and pursue positive changes (Sheaf’s Horsier, 2009). Boss finds the strengths in both the child and the volunteer in order to establish a successful relationship. This agency desires to make the child feel empowered and accepted by the volunteer.
Sometimes a child needs to feel wanted and cared for in order for their strength and power to rise thin them. The strengths perspective honors two things the power of the self to heal and right itself with the help of the environment, and the need for an alliance with the hope that life might really be otherwise (Sellable, 1996, peg. 303). By using the strength perspective, Big Brothers Big Sisters is able to help their children by enabling them to find the strength to make better choices in life. In order for an agency to be able to carry out its mission and goals there needs to be funds in order to operate effectively.
Big Brothers Big Sisters operates with grants as well as nations from different organizations. Each year they receive grants that are given to their organization. In 2013, Big Brothers Big Sisters received ten grants. The United Way/Whitley grant, JUDD Military grant, JUDD 2 grant, Weyerhaeuser grant, DIPS-OUR (ASSN) grant, the Macho grant, JUDD Second Chance Grant, Gear Up-SAID grant, City of AS, Chase and Meadows. Each of these grant have requirements as well as stipulations. For example, the Weyerhaeuser grant can only be used for children that are five to fourteen years of age and who are victims of domestic violence.
The grants that are awarded to help BBS assist them to target specific children and youth in order to match them with the right mentoring volunteer. Along from grants, Big Brothers Big Sisters has a recruitment team that goes out and makes presentations to different organizations, such as Coca- Cola, Gun, United Services Automobile Association and many other organizations who may be interested in sponsoring the programs offered at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Along with grants and sponsorship, each year BBS does Bowl for kids sake, to raise money for the agency as well.
Big Brothers Big Sisters programs have assisted many hillier all around America. BBS programs emphasis on quality and long-term support and has had a significant impact on youth. In the first national study on the impact of mentoring, young teenagers paired with a Big Brother or Big Sister for about a year, when compared with peers, were found to be 46 likely to initiate drugs, 27 less likely to begin using alcohol, 52 likely to skip school, 37 likely to skip a class, more confident of their performance at school and a third less likely to hit someone.
A more recent study conducted in 2007, found that the BBS school based program influenced children’s academic performance in five different areas. The overall academic performance, performance in science, and written and oral language, the quality of class work and number of assignments turned in, fewer serious school infractions, scholastic efficacy in feeling more competent academically and a reduction in skipping school. Mentoring has shown that children do much better in their lives. They have been able to see how their programs are helping the children as well as strengthening their communities.
Big Brothers Big Sisters has great strengths as an agency. They have been able to maintain numerous amounts of support from organizations, which allow for growth of the agency and have been able to witness successful program outcomes. Along with positive strengths, Big Brothers Big Sisters is experiencing some number limitations. The first is trying to be able to find ways to recruit more volunteers for their programs. This can be a difficult challenge because not everyone wants to mentor a child. Right now, BBS of South Texas has over eight hundred children needing a mentor. They do not have enough mentoring volunteers to fill in their gap.
This unfortunately, leaves a great number of the children without any mentor in their life. Those children are placed on a waiting list without any time promises. There are also a low number of African American mentors. The percent of African American children in the program is 20. Only 2 of mentors are African American. This causes limitations for BBS because they are not able to help those children with mentoring as well. They are trying to figure out ways to help these limitations and are optimistic for their agency future. In conclusion, Big Brothers Big Sisters is a great organization.
This organization is asking a huge impact in the lives of youth around the nation. This program helps the many children who are suffering from families that are broken or who may be dealing with loneliness. So many children desire a friend to talk to and BBS allows a child to find a friend for life. This agency paper brought an increase of knowledge and wealth personally. Prior to this assignment as well as internship, I had no knowledge of this great organization. This agency is extremely beneficial to the lives of so many youth. I am very grateful to be a part of such a wonderful agency bringing about change and hope for future generations.