We are committed to providing children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1 to 1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. The program was begun in 1995 after a previous Big Brothers Big Sisters agency serving this area failed, due to lack of funds. Two-hundred, forty children were on a waiting list for a big brother or sister when it closed. Since being re-established, the program has grown steadily, now serving over 400 community- and school-based matches, as well as providing a growing number of school-based mentoring programs.
The program matches children in Cumberland and York Counties in Maine, ages 7-14, with adult and high school aged vounteers who act as mentors, and provide friendship, support, and guidance. Volunteers are sought, carefully screened, trained and supported by match support staff who monitor matches over time in order to provide the most effective service possible. It is a PREVENTION program trying to get to kids before problems do, by offering support and guidance. It is not a treatment program and youth with serious issues are generally not accepted and are referred to other appropriate agencies. The volunteer commitment is for adults in our community-based program is at least one year, spending 3-5 hours every week or every other week doing activities both mentor and child enjoy. Spending a lot of money is discouraged, and the program offers a variety of activity ideas and opportunities. The commitment for adult and high school aged volunteers in our school-based mentoring programs requires an hour a week through the school year. Volunteers who enroll after January 1 are expected to commit through the next school year. We have programs for high school volunteers in Portland, Westbrook, Gorham, Windham, Saco, Kennebunk, Wells and Sanford. We have programs for adult volunteers in Porltand, South Portland and Falmouth.