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Big Hearts, Bigger Impact

Big Hearts, Bigger Impact

Big Hearts, Bigger Impact

How Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Alachua County is empowering the leaders of tomorrow. 

By Celia Goodyear  

It is no secret that the young people of today are tomorrow’s leaders, and the experiences they have now can help them in the future.  

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alachua County is a nonprofit organization helping local children find those experiences to shape their futures. It is part of a national mentoring agency that provides one-on-one mentoring to children between the ages of five and 13.  

“There are so many opportunities to give the children to think outside of the box in terms of what their futures might be,” said Jasmyn Copeland, program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alachua and Marion counties.  

BIG Connections 

Copeland said the group matches Bigs, mentors, with Littles, mentees, and they build relationships through two different programs. The first is community-based and gives the Littles opportunities to experience activities in the local community, like attending University of Florida football games or touring the campus.  

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alachua County also sponsors local streets and holds six cleanup events throughout the year for Bigs and their Littles to work together. 

The other program the group offers is site-based and allows a Big to meet with their Little at school once a week. It is currently offered at Stephen Foster and Idylwild Elementary Schools.  

Copeland said the schools love the program, and the time with their mentors helps the children and improves their relationships and grades.  

“When you provide that one-on-one time, it fills up the well of the child and usually the outcome is better behavior,” she said.   

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alachua County is available for children from all different walks of life who are between the ages of five and 13. Participation is free.   

“We are inclusive,” she said. “Everyone is welcome.” 

Copeland said the group is always looking for mentors. Currently it serves 50 children in Alachua County and has another 50 on the waiting list.  

See Also

BIG Help Needed  

In addition to volunteering as a mentor, there are other ways people can work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alachua County. One of the biggest is its upcoming “Bowl for Kid’s Sake” fundraiser.   

Copeland said this is the first time the event is being held in Alachua County and added that she needs many local people to participate.   

“We will need as many local organizations as possible to create a team to compete, raise funds and have a great time,” she said.   

The fundraiser will be held sometime in the spring. Copeland said the organization is also looking to build a leadership council to provide local representation on the Tampa Bay agency’s board.  

To find out more about these opportunities, contact Copeland at [email protected]. To find out about how to be a mentor, go to 

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