Big Futures (college and workforce readiness program)

“In 2016 we transitioned into the Big Futures program… to help Jamele across the fragile bridge between high school graduation and whatever comes next. Jamele is someone I have enjoyed investing time in the last 6 years…He is a good investment! We have a mutual friendship and admiration bond that I think will last forever.” – Mark


Jamele’s dad serves in the military and was often away on deployments


About Mark:

Mark is one of our 2017 Bigs of the Year! Mark’s first Little is now 43 years-old, a successful business and family man, who still considers Mark his Big Brother! Mark is generously sponsoring our 2017 Recruitment Happy Hours, in order to help us find volunteers for the 550 children (400 boys) who are waiting.


Big Brother Mark Neilson and Little Brother Jamele Matched in 2010


# of children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County in 2016


# of corporate partners opening up their headquarters to kids through our workplace mentoring initiative, Beyond School Walls


% of Little Brothers/Sisters who improved or maintained on “scholastic competence” after one year


# children of Navy and Marine Corps service members reached through Operation Bigs in 2016


% of Little Brothers/Sisters who improved or maintained on “attitudes toward risky behavior” after one year


# of children with monolingual Spanish-speaking parents


# of zip codes where “Littles” come from across San Diego County


# of hours kids spent in one-to-one mentoring with their Big Brother or Sister


estimated value of volunteer hours donated by Bigs*

*source: * percentages come from the Youth Outcomes Survey, administered to children age 9+ in community mentoring


dear_supporter_title_2 A “big future” is one that isn’t limited by the neighborhood you grew up in or the school you attended. It is one of possibility and choice. But for the children and teens we serve at Big Brothers Big Sisters, planning for their future can be uncharted ground.

Our teens ask themselves, “Will I be the first person in my family to go to college, how will I know what steps to take first? How can I afford it? Who can I call if something unexpected happens?” Our parents and guardians have the same worries too, saying, “I want my child to succeed, to achieve, to reach further than I did…how can I help them?

A mentor is a child’s friend and confidant, role model and guide. Our Bigs are community leaders, civic organizers and caring neighbors. They are lawyers, teachers, peace officers and emergency responders, finance experts and business managers – in short, our mentors are just the right kind of people to lead our kids down the path to their big, bright futures. Through our new Big Futures initiative, we can now help our teens prepare for their future in critical ways: financial literacy, soft skill development, hands-on work experience and college preparation. And you have continued to play an important role helping us grow, sharing your expertise, donating your time, treasure and talent, enabling us to remain San Diego’s premier youth mentoring organization. Thank you for taking Big steps with us in 2016 and being a part of the solution!

SWK-Sig_v2 R-Yousko-Signature_v4
President & CEO Board Chair

2017 is going to be another great year and we appreciate your continued support.


Leading the Way


Bumble Bee Seafoods
Jack in the Box, Jack in the Box Foundation
May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust
Millennium Health


Arrington Family/San Diego Funding
Farrell Family Foundation,
    Dr. Peter and Olivia Farrell
Issa Family Foundation
LPL Financial Charitable Foundation
Michael & Karen Stone Family Foundation
Phil Pace, Phil’s BBQ
Stacey & Steve Pacelli
Sycuan Resort & Casino


Alexandria Real Estate Equities
Change a Life Foundation**
Hervey Family Non-endowment Fund
    at the San Diego Foundation
Holly McGrath Bruce & David Bruce
Louise & Chris Lischewski
Price Philanthropies Foundation
Ryan Dotters**
San Diego Padres
The Yousko Family Foundation
Walter & Betty Zable Foundation

** in kind donation

Lily & Aly Arrington (Granddaughters of Frank & Linnea Arrington) presenting a check to BBBS CEO Wayne Kay.
San Diego Funding and the Arrington family have been decades-long supporters of community mentoring and Operation Bigs military mentoring programs. Inspired to carry on the legacy of the late board member and community leader, Frank Arrington, wife Linnea, son Brian and granddaughters Lily and Aly remain committed partners in our mission to change children’s lives.


Altman Family Foundation
Andrew Dumke**
Ashford University
Barney & Barney
Beth & Thomas Joyce
Bill Boggs
Chad Fuller
Cubic Corporation
Dane Chapin
David Malcolm
Dean Gray
Derek Aberle
Dowling & Yahnke Inc.
Christopher and Karen Sickels
Frank Motors
George Young
Great Pacific Escrow
Jeff Busby
Jeff Scott, Softwhere Anywhere
Jim & Amy Wood
John Lingham,
    Original Pancake House Poway & Temecula
Latham & Watkins
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo
Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation
Paul Mara
Dr. Paul Murphy
Rick & Stacey Valencia
Ron Cohn,
    Sprouts Farmer’s Market
    Chula Vista & East Lake
Southwest Value Partners Enterprise
Subaru of America
The Gilbert J. Martin Foundation
Thomas Bancroft
Tom & Nettie Keck
ViaSat Inc.
Wells Fargo
William Sailer
Woltman Family
Women Give

** in kind donation

John Dinius, GM of Sycuan, Alumni Little Brother and BBBS Board Member and grammy-nominated musician John Ondrasik presenting a check to Marketing Director, Tina Rose.
In 2016, Sycuan, long-time supporters, introduced a new Live and Up Close concert benefiting Operation Bigs Military Mentoring program.


Ace Parking
Alaska Airlines**
Alison & Robert Price Family Fund
Andrew Ratner
Andrews, Lagasse
Bank of America
Branch Bell
BlackRock Financial Management
BMW Builders
Brian & Denise Caster Trust
Brownstein Hyatt Farber & Shcreck LLP
Cal Sorrento Ltd
California Community Foundation
Change Happens Foundation
ConAM Management Corp
Datron Communications
DLA Piper
DPR Construction
Gallahue Family
Garmo & Garmo
Gensler Group
Gerald Shonkwiler
Hausman Family Foundation
Heller Foundation at Union Bank
Herman Miller**
Higgins Family
Hyatt Regency La Jolla**
Ingrid Hibben Charitable Trust
James and Lauren Brennan**
James McCullough
John & Kristen Frager
Kevin & Leann McCarthy
Koman Group
Lucia Capital Group
Mike & Pat Fasulo
Natixis Global Asset Management
Next Level Internet
NH Learning
Nordson Corporate Foundation
NRG Energy
Pathfinder Partners
Prevost Construction
Rancho La Puerta**
Real Capital Markets
Rick and Elisa Jaime**
Rodger & Mitzi Grove
Roller Family
Ryan Family Charitable Foundation
Samuel & Katherine French Fund
San Diego County Supervisors
San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Foundation
SkyRiver IT
Suncoast Financial
Susan & Paul Hering
The Ken Blanchard Companies,
    Margie & Ken Blanchard
The Meyer Charitable Foundation
TJX Foundation
Torrey Pines Bank
Turk Family Foundation
Valmere Frager
Vistage 3080

** in kind donation

2016 Highlights

Big Futures

Big Futures is a college and career readiness initiative for teens age 13+, their parents and their mentors, providing individual and group counseling, workshops, work experience and financial literacy training to help ensure our teens plan, persist, and achieve a 4-year, 2-year or vocational training program and are ready to enter the workforce.

Sponsored by:

Michael & Karen Stone Family Foundation, the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation, and Bank of America

Healthy Futures

The goal of Healthy Futures is to connect Big Brothers and Big Sisters to resources and activities in our community that will help them enhance the health and wellness of their Little Brother or Little Sister. By helping meet our kids’ health and wellness needs we’ll better ensure they can fully engage in the mentoring relationship with their Big. By providing Bigs with more tailored training and support, we’ll better ensure a rewarding and long-lasting mentoring experience for all.

Sponsored by:

David & Holly McGrath Bruce and the Walter & Betty Zable Foundation

Ayana, Chaldean Mentoring Program

Ayana means “helper” in Aramaic, and that’s exactly what a mentor can do in the life of a refugee child; help them navigate the challenges of assimilation and grow to become fully engaged American citizens.


El Cajon has the largest population of Iraq War refugees in the world. 60,000 Chaldeans live in East County.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County and the Chaldean community of El Cajon have come together to create, Ayana, a 1:1 mentoring program for Chaldean refugee youth whose families fled political and religious violence in Iraq. In the pilot year, we will match up to 30 Chaldean refugee children and teens with caring, committed mentors.

2016 Events

Our 2016 events included the 23rd Annual Golf Marathon, The Big Summer Sizzle at PIRCH, The 8th Annual Phil’s BIG BBQ at the Ballpark, a Summer Concert at Sycuan, The Golfer’s Jet Away to Bandon Dunes, Oregon, and finished with our signature gala, the 54th Annual Gourmet Dinner at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. The events hosted 4,200 attendees and collectively netted $1,050,000 to support our one to one mentoring programs. Huge thanks to all our event sponsors and participants who make these outcomes possible. Please check out our 2017 events line up.

Watch Our 2016 Gourmet Dinner Video

The Young Professionals Committee (YPC)

The Young Professionals Committee (YPC) is a group of emerging community leaders raising money and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County. In 2016 YPC hosted two fabulous events: Rockin’ Date Night, a single’s auction held at Tin Roof in Downtown San Diego, and the 12th Annual Chocolate and Vino event held at the University Club Atop Symphony Towers. The 2016 events hosted 600 attendees and grossed nearly $39,000.


Our Programs

A Big Brothers Big Sisters’ “match” between an adult volunteer and child is carefully administered and held to the strictest standards. Agency staff strives to create matches that are not only safe and well suited to each child’s needs and preferences, but also harmonious and built to last. We provide ongoing support and supervision to the Big, the Little, and the Little’s family. There is certainly science involved in the matchmaking process, but it would not be possible without the skilled assessments from professionally degreed staff.

What makes our programs so unique? Take a look!


An Operation Bigs Thank You.

When you are a military child, it is hard to always cope when you move. It is hard enough when your military father leaves for six months on deployment to Kuwait. When these things, and more, are compiled at the same time, they tend to build up and hinder the kids at school, as well as home. We felt Big Brother Tom would be good match for our son Alex because you can learn from all kinds of people.

Tom is a former service member who understood the hardships and mental process a military child goes through. Alex looks forward to seeing Tom every week and thinks about him often. Tom’s dedication to being a mentor and friend to Alex has been proven time and time again. During the soccer season, Tom postponed his plans of playing golf with his friends to see Alex play soccer. This unselfishness has been noted by Alex multiple times and he has applied that more in his daily life. His positive outlook on life is a direct reflection of Tom’s exceptional example of a positive role model and mentor. We have no doubt that Alex and Tom will be friends for many years to come and that is a big thing when you are military.
Our family would like to personally thank Tom for being part of Alex’s life and would also like to thank Big Brothers Big Sisters for the opportunity to bring them together. Words cannot express our feelings when it comes to what Tom has done for our son.
Austen and Brandy Harms, Operation Bigs Parents
Learn More About Operation Bigs >
Little Brother Alex


Big Brother Tom with Little Brother Alex

Mission, Vision & Accountability



The Big Brothers Big Sisters Mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better.



The Big Brothers Big Sisters Vision is for all children to achieve success in life.



By partnering with parents/guardians, volunteers and others in the community we are accountable for each child in our program achieving:

  • Higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships
  • Avoidance of risky behaviors
  • Educational success