Big Brothers Big Sisters began in 1904 in New York City. Mr. Ernest Coulter, a clerk in the New York City Children’s Court, addressed a group of business leaders regarding delinquent boys saying, “These boys’ only guilt is that they have been deprived of a basic childhood right — the right to a father’s love, understanding and example. It is a right which they and others like them may never receive unless men like you give it to them.” The 40 men’s club members were so impressed by Coulter’s words that they volunteered and became the first “Big Brothers.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska
On August 1, 2007 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies of Southeast Alaska, Southcentral Alaska and the Greater Fairbanks area merged to form Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska. The purpose and intent of this merger was to serve the youth in our communities more effectively and to collectively serve more youth than we would serve individually.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska represents the largest geographic area served by Big Brothers Big Sisters in the nation. New matches are being made in Fairbanks, Mat-Su, Anchorage, and Juneau. Youth are also being served in Homer, Sitka, Hoonah, Haines, Ketchikan, and Yakatat.
Anchorage and Southcentral
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Anchorage began in August 1972 when Rick and Mary Mystrom came to town. When they learned that there was no existing Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Southcentral Alaska, they began the hard work establishing the program in Anchorage. When it was announced that a Big Brothers program was about to open in December 1973, nearly 100 inquiries from potential Big Brothers flowed in.
Juneau and Southeast
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Alaska began service in 1979. This process began with work from Juneau citizens Kevin Ritchie and Margaret Pugh, who saw the need for the program in their area.
Fairbanks, North and Interior
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Fairbanks has been serving Alaska’s Interior since 1988. A teacher at Pearl Creek School, Jean Ambrose, saw the need for Big Brothers Big Sisters in her students every day. In the fall of 1987, she assembled a committee from a diverse cross-section of the community. Early funding came primarily through grass roots contributions and service organizations like Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, labor unions and individuals. Since this time, the program has expanded to serve other communities.