Movers and Shakers
In 1967, The Advisory Board of the Juvenile Court saw a real need to provide guidance on a one-on-one basis to many young girls in our community. With the help of numerous individuals and four organizations, hundreds of hours of research and planning were done. The groups actively involved were: the Women’s Advisory Board of the Juvenile Court, the Mental Health Association of Racine County, Racine Junior Women’s Club and the Johnson Foundation.
In January 1968, Big Sisters of Greater Racine, Inc. was formally constituted. We were one of three Big Sister organizations in Wisconsin and there were but a handful of similar programs in the United States.
Our organization served as a role model for many others across the state and country who were interested in beginning their own Big Sister program. In 1970, there was no national big sister organization, but some interest in possibly beginning one. When they finally did decide to have a national organization, guess who they wanted to talk to and get ideas from? Yes! Big Sisters of Greater Racine, Inc. In the end, we did not join with the national organization. After extensive discussion, it was decided that the money required to join would be better utilized in our own program and community.
We began in March of 1968 with a desk and a phone in the corner of the Big Brother office. In September 1968, Dr. Louis Maxey donated an office to us in the Baker Building at 523 Mains Street, which we maintained for eight years. In July of 1968 we had three matches. Once school was back in session the number of girls referred to our program outnumbered the Big Sisters that were available. The recruitment committee had their hands full recruiting the many Big Sisters for the girls waiting to have their very own Big Sister.
Some things have changed over the years and some have not.
In 1968 we had 28 board members. Today this has been streamlined to 18.
We’ve had our logo updated, but our program remains the same.
We now employ one part-time Director of Volunteers. All the rest of our membership is made up of loving, caring, and dedicated volunteers.
Big Sisters of Greater Racine, Inc was and still is an independent, voluntary organization supported by member’s dues and by gifts from individuals, organizations, foundations, and churches. Though asked many times to become part of United Way and Big Brothers, it was strongly felt that we have an effective and cost efficient organization through the volunteers who give so willing to our cause and support our goals. There are still more Little Sisters than Big Sisters. The need in our community for a one-on-one relationship between a young girl and an adult female has not decreased, but is needed even more today.
Big Sisters of Greater Racine, Inc. is proud of our volunteers, our supporters, and of our service to young girls in our community. Together we can make a difference in a young girl’s life.