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Non-Profit Highlight: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clarksville

This month’s non-profit highlight is Big Brother Big Sisters of Clarksville. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clarksville provides children facing adversity with strong, professionally supported, one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Photo of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clarksville’s logo. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clarksville was established in 1975 through a local interest group originating from Harriet Cohn Mental Health Center and Grace Lutheran Church. Today a volunteer board of directors oversees the agency. 

Dr. Eric Norman, President of the Board of Directors, at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clarksville, is passionate about Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Clarksville and the effects it can have on  a child in the program and to the families. He states, “This is a service where you can see the immediate impact by volunteering your time, talents, and treasures. You can see it in each child’s eyes as they are with their Big. Plus, you see the relief and happiness when they see their child with the BBBS volunteer.”

What does it mean to be a Big Brother or a Big Sister?

Being a Big Brother or a Big Sister allows the opportunity to bring “magic” to a child’s life by being a friend to them. Big Brothers and Sisters don’t need experience, money, or a degree, and they are not expected to be a substitute parent or teacher. 

Photo of Little Brother Isaiah (left) and  Big Sister Renee (right.)

Renee is a soccer player and student at Austin Peay State University. Renee was matched with a Little Brother Isaiah in 2019. The two matched in the school-based program, where they meet once a week during the school day at Isaiah’s elementary school. “Renee helps her Little Brother with homework and also helps him see alternative ways to react in intense or scary situations,” says Chris Buerck. One of the biggest rewards Renee gets out of the process of being a Big Sister is “I see Isaiah laugh and have a good time and get to be himself.” 

Who are the Little Brothers and Little Sisters?

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clarksville provides service to children in the following age groups:

School-Based Program

  • Operated in select CMCSS schools
  • Meet at the school during the day for one hour each week
  • Children are 1st-5th grade
  • Teacher, school counselor or parent can refer the child

Community-Based Program

  • Matches go out into the community for meetings
  • Meet for an hour a week or 2-3 hours every other week
  • Children are ages 6-15
  • Parent/guardian refers child

Chris Buerck says, “Studies show that just one steady adult relationship can help a child overcome adverse experiences and build resilience, which in turn helps them grow strong or successful.” To enroll your children in the programs or to learn more about the programs contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clarksville!

How can you be involved?

First, you can volunteer with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Clarksville.   View their website to find the best volunteer program for you! Once you find the right program for you, contact them, and they will begin the process. Secondly, you can donate to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Clarksville. Lastly, you can attend the events they host!

 “The Big Brother Big Sisters mentorships provide individualized experiences and learning opportunities for all involved. Through this service, bonds can be developed between the big and little and positive relationships will be forged that will last a lifetime,” says Dr. Eric Norman. “I think spending time and talking with children is extremely underrated because everyone forgets how much you can learn from them,” says Renee, “they force you to see the full picture.” Become  involved in the Clarksville community, and help the cause to bring “magic” to a child’s life.