Big Brothers Big Sisters: Making Friendships to Make a Difference

by RaeAnne Marsh

Save the Date: Returning this year to its earlier fundraising model, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona will host a community breakfast on April 18 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa. “It’s a great way to talk to individuals and share with them what we do and how they can help,” says Laura Capello, president and CEO.

The morning’s program will mainly be presentations from people the organization supports: “Littles” will share how the BBBS program has helped them, “Bigs” will share what it’s like to have that role in a young person’s life, and parents of the “Littles” will share how the BBBS program has helped their family. Attendance is free, but Capello says the hope is attendees “will be moved to give.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, whose Little Brother graduated from college last year and is expected to attend with Mayor Stanton, is the honorary chairman of this year’s event. Although “Littles” officially age out of the program when they turn 18, “they can continue [their relationship with their ‘Big’], but as adults,” Capello explains.


  • Founded in 1955, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona serves about 2,000 children each year.
  • The majority of children in the program are boys and come from single-parent homes with the mother as head of the household.
  • Enrollment in the program starts with the organization interviewing the parents and child. “The child must want to be in the program,” emphasizes Laura Capello, president and CEO.
  • Volunteers, after passing a background check, are matched with their “Little” based on shared interests, fulfilling a need (math skills, to help a child struggling with math, for instance) and living within a short range of the child’s home. Says Capello, “They’re making friendships, so we want to make sure they have things in common.”
  • Of the 42 employees on staff, the majority are trained social workers. These professionals — match support specialists — oversee the matches and offer support to both sides. In addition, there is a child safety expert who oversees the program.

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