Big Brothers Big Sisters originated in New York City in 1904 when Ernest Coulter, a law clerk, issued a call for caring adults to step forward and serve as role models to the increasing number of boys appearing before the court system. At the same time, the Ladies of Charity were befriending girls who had appeared before the New York Children's Court. The two organisations worked independently until 1977, when Big Brothers and Big Sisters joined forces to become Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
The 1995 publication ‘Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters' independently confirmed the positive impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters on young people's lives. Dissemination of the study generated global interest, resulting in the formation of Big Brothers Big Sisters International in 1998. Big Brothers Big Sisters is now supporting more than 280,000 young people in 12 countries.
In Australia, Big Brothers Big Sisters was first established on the Gold Coast in the early 1970s followed by Brisbane in 1975. In 1978, YWCA NSW implemented the program in Sydney, while the program became operational in Melbourne in 1982.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Australia was established in 2002 and within 12 months Big Brothers Big Sisters became operational in Perth, Adelaide and Geelong.
Globally, all Big Brothers Big Sisters organisations share one mission: to help at risk young people achieve their full potential through professionally supported mentoring.
Worldwide, the Big Brothers Big Sisters brand is associated with excellence in youth mentoring and has been identified as one of America's greatest brands. Young people face similar and different challenges, but the positive impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs has been demonstrated across many cultures.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Australia works closely with our international colleagues. This gives us access to best practice mentoring models and research from around the globe.