With January here, it’s National Mentoring Month and what better way to show it off than by spotlighting our Experts of the Month. They just celebrated their 50th anniversary of enriching children’s lives around Rhode Island. The entire staff of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island are our Experts of the Month!

Founded in 1966 by Dr. Dorothy Pieniadz, BBBS originally started as Big Sisters of Rhode Island. It was established as an all-volunteer mentoring organization dedicated to Traditional Mentoring, bringing together trained, adult females and younger, at-risk girls. In 2010, they expanded their services to also include boys in their mentoring program. They later adopted the name Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island to accurately reflect their services. Now, over 50 years since it was founded, BigsRI not only does mentoring, but raises money for scholarships, programs, and services to support their mission. They also have paired up with Savers. To better serve the community, they collect gently used clothes and other household goods for those in need. This includes the multiple Donation Centers across the state along with their headquarters in Cranston.

Their core values define how they conduct themselves and their organization when interacting with the families they serve, their volunteers, their donors, their partners as well as each other and the entire community. They are driven by a true desire to improve the lives of children in RI. With their core values focusing on respect, accountability, integrity, safety and empowerment, it takes a truly special person to embody the BBBS culture. However, any mentor or “big” you meet will tell you how rewarding it is to know that they changed a “little’s” life. If you ask any “little” that is in or has graduated from the program, they will tell you how their lives changed for the better by having someone there for them, their “big” that makes a difference.

If you are interested in donating, mentoring or just contacting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island, you can call 401-921-2434 or check them out online at www.bigsri.org/or on Facebook.