BIG FUTURES PROGRAM
Mentoring Through Young Adulthood
In our Big Futures program, your child maintains an ongoing mentoring relationship with his or her Big after high school graduation or age 18, when the traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters program ends. This extended relationship with a Mentor provides support to older youth as they navigate one of the most pivotal times in their lives – the transition into young adulthood.
Helping students prepare for success doesn’t just mean college-prep work, however. Big Futures focuses on providing guidance and connections to community resources to Mentees as they work toward one of the three “Es” – Education, Enlistment, or Employment – with the goal of ensuring that they are prepared to attend college, enter the workforce, or enlist in military service after high school, and ultimately become self-sustenance by the age of 25.
Match Support Specialists will help program participants increase their awareness of and access to the information, community resources, and training opportunities that help them reach their individual goals. Little Brothers and Sisters find the most useful resources for their individual needs, enabling them to access information on job readiness, resume building, college degree requirements, work and life skills, or enlistment requirements.
By extending the match relationship into the transitional years of young adulthood, Big Futures provides Littles with stability, support, and guidance as they begin to expand their knowledge of the larger world and find their unique place within it.
Read the latest news and updates about our Big Futures program here.
To learn more, please contact Christina Eisenlord, Big Futures Program Manager, at 512-807-3611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Big Futures Program helps especially in terms of getting assistance with school, jobs, etc. Christina Eisenlord is always so helpful in sending me things like scholarship lists, and job fair announcements. That makes a big difference and is a great source of information and opportunities!” — Mentee Zach
“The move to another state brought its own set of challenges. The Big Futures Program provided me with resources during this hard, abrupt transition, especially during the pandemic.” — Mentee Kirida
“Christina Eisenlord reaches out like clockwork to make sure I’m okay and see if I need anything. I definitely appreciate her support and help through this process.” — Mentee Jaylon
“I’ve been a Big Brother in both the typical BBBS program and now in the Big Futures program for the past 3+ years. It has been a great experience; from the first introduction with my Little, who became a great friend and part of my family, to being supported with expertise and excellent programs to help him navigate growing up, to the ongoing connection with have with our current Match Support Specialist, Christina. Overall, I have been pleased with and have felt very well supported and encouraged by the program.” — Mentor Tom
Community Partners & Resources
Partnerships with the following community colleges, universities, and trade schools offer opportunities and scholarships to our Mentees. Together, we also help participates gain work experience through internships and job shadowing, learn about various career paths, and develop professional skills, career readiness, and financial literacy.
A significant role played by the Big Futures Program is connecting Mentees with resources that address their particular needs and goals. The following nonprofit organizations and professional services can help youth with career and educational readiness as they transition to adulthood.
Builders FirstSource – College students seeking on-the-job experience can find opportunities at Builders FirstSource. Their internships are paid, short-term positions that last 11 weeks in the summer from June to August.
Capital IDEA – Capital IDEA provides financial support and extensive professional guidance to motivated, non-traditional students who want to earn a living wage and advance in a promising career. By connecting Big Futures participants with this resource for tuition assistance and academic and career advising, BBBS enables our Mentees to confidently navigate both their college experience and their career path.
Foundation Communities – Foundation Communities is a local, homegrown nonprofit. The organization provides affordable, attractive homes and free on-site support services for thousands of families with kids, as well as veterans, seniors, and individuals with disabilities in 23 communities all over Austin and three in North Texas.
Goodwill LifeLaunch – Goodwill LifeLaunch assists young adults in the Austin area, ages 18 to 24, who have been involved in the criminal justice system. The individualized services of LifeLaunch are especially relevant to our Mentees in Big Futures who face the unique obstacles to employment that result from having a criminal history. Participation in Goodwill’s LifeLaunch program empowers youth to chart a new course for their lives by continuing their education, completing an occupational training program, and/or pursuing a college degree.
Goodwill Excel Center – The Goodwill Excel Center is the first free public charter school in Texas that provides adults, ages 19 to 50, with the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, complete a professional certification, and begin post-secondary education. By providing free childcare, in addition to individualized learning plans and life-coaching, this supportive learning environment addresses the unique needs of our Mentees who are balancing parenting responsibilities with educational aspirations.
LifeWorks – With more than 50 years’ experience working with youth facing challenges to their future success, LifeWorks provides 19 programs designed to bolster self-sufficiency related to housing, mental health, and educational needs. With its focus on developing the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the challenges of adolescence, move toward independence, and break the cycle of poverty, LifeWorks’ Education and Workforce Division is especially relevant to participants in Big Futures.
Workforce Solutions Capital Area – Through its Youth Employment Partnership, WFS helps low-income youth, aged 14 to 24, prepare for success in the classroom and on the job. Big Futures Mentees can utilize the resources offered by WFS to receive work-readiness and life skills training that will help them achieve their career goals. Programs offered include GED or high school equivalency preparation, alternative secondary school services, career counseling, leadership skills development, job readiness training, and paid and unpaid work experience.
X Factor Consultants – An Austin-area digital design and web consulting company, X Factor Consultants currently offers career readiness workshops to our Big Futures Mentees. They are continuing to create additional workshops related to the Information Technology and software development fields, as well as panel discussions with professionals already working in these fields.
Am I eligible?
How do I enroll in the Big Futures program?
Are there important deadlines?
What are the benefits to Matches remaining open in Big Futures?
In order to help Mentees make progress toward one of our 3 E’s: Enrollment, Employment or Enlistment, the Big Futures program provides guidance, information, and workshops related to:
- Skill building
- Financial literacy
- Military enlistment
- Affordable housing
- GED/HSE certification
- Identifying futures goals
- College application process
- Career and technical training
- Para-professional certification
- Career exploration and readiness
- Financial assistance for post-secondary education
- Resources/organizations relation to first generation college students
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