Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities Announces Expansion of Programs

February 6, 2018, Chris Olsen

Free Arts Minnesota Programming Supports Greater Impact in the Community

Late last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities and Free Arts Minnesota began exploring opportunities to increase both organizations’ impact in working with children. As discussions evolved, and the close alignment of missions and values became clear, exciting opportunities for a unique partnership emerged. Today, Big Brothers Big Sisters announces its launch of Free Arts programming.

These new offerings allow Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide even greater impact in the community by focusing on youth in challenging circumstances such as poverty, homelessness, mental illness and abuse. Through Free Arts Days, Weekly Mentorship and CREATE Workshops, and with the help of caring adult mentors and partner sites, Big Brothers Big Sisters is committed to supporting the development of participants, and to providing them with a safe place for expression and self-discovery through art. Learn more about these programs here.

With this change, much remains the same, including Big Brothers Big Sisters’ continued commitment to the mentoring programs that are core to its mission. Free Arts’ purpose, programs and partners will also continue unchanged. To ensure seamless integration of services and to minimize any disruption to the kids who participate, three Free Arts programming staff joined Big Brothers Big Sisters team in January: Chelsea Unold, Free Arts Program Manager; Leah Moore, Free Arts Program Coordinator; and Annemarie Gillispie, Free Arts Program Specialist.

The growth of Big Brothers Big Sisters is part of thoughtful and intentional efforts to develop and implement sustainable strategies to continue increasing the number of children the organization serves, and the longevity of mentoring relationships. In fiscal year 2017, Big Brothers Big Sisters served 2,664 youth—an 11 percent increase over the previous year. The organization is expected to continue on its growth trajectory this year, and through Free Arts mentoring programs will engage more than 1,000 additional underserved youth.

“It’s an honor for Big Brothers Big Sisters to deliver these impactful programs, and to ensure the Free Arts legacy continues in the Twin Cities,” said Michael Goar, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Twin Cities. “Perhaps most exciting is the opportunity to serve more children in need with this critical programming.”