2019 IMPACT REPORT Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County

Every match made has a ripple effect, touching the lives of all those involved with making that match possible.
Nearly 1,000 lives in Washtenaw County were impacted by our program in 2019.


We are excited to share with you our 2019 Annual Report. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County is approaching 30 years of service to this community by helping to enrich the lives of young people and empowering their greatest potential. Within this report, you will find stories and data to support the impact of our one-to-one mentoring model.

BBBS has a rich history of evidence-based practices and standards of practice to guide our work. This past year, we have spent time focusing on understanding the impact of the Strength of Relationship on the overall impact on Positive Youth Development. In understanding that data better, we are creating new trainings and supports for our Bigs that will allow them to be even more successful in creating a strong Developmental Relationship with their Littles, which we know leads to them becoming a caring, confident and competent member of our community.

In addition to trainings and supports for Bigs, a highlight of our year was receiving directed donations and grants to provide experiences for our Bigs & Littles in the areas of Recreation, and Arts & Culture. We had the opportunity to attend a performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, take in a Tigers game, stroll through the Detroit Institute of Arts, and have a meet and greet with artist, Tyree Guyton, on our visit to the Heidelberg Project.

We also transitioned our Rise and Shine for Kids’ Sake fundraising breakfast to a Spring event for the first time in 2019. And lucky us, we were joined by Coach Beilein and inspired by his stories of coaching and mentorship, just before he announced his departure for Cleveland. His rousing words helped us raise over $175,000 to support our work with kids in our community.

Looking ahead, 2020 will be tough for all of us, for so many reasons. In addition to supporting the transportation, technology, food and basic needs of our community members, we are focused on creating virtual experiences to support our mentoring program. We do not know what lies ahead, but we do know that with a community of supporters like you, we will continue to provide an impactful mentoring experience for hundreds of Washtenaw County’s youth.

Jennifer Spitler, Executive Director Melanie Hoff, Board President


Joanie Decker

Meet Joanie and RayQueesha. You may remember them as the winners of our, "Where in the World is Bowley?" contest last summer. They have been matched since 2015. In their 5 years together, they have built a genuine sisterhood. RayQueesha knows that Joanie is always there to encourage her, both during their visits and on the phone between visits. RayQueesha says that the way Joanie is always there to listen to her makes her feel important. Joanie’s efforts to build such a deep bond helps to ignite RayQueesha’s potential, by consistently reminding her of her value.

Joanie loves to spend time with RayQueesha. The match likes to explore on their own, and consistently participate in program events. These outings provide Rayqueesha with a lot of opportunities for new experiences. They have gone to museums, bike riding on Belle Isles, and explored new restaurants. Beyond having fun together they also hold each other accountable for developing good habits, by studying together and running around Ford Lake. Between new experiences, and building healthy habits, Joanie is helping to expand RayQueesha’s horizons and empowering her to dream big.

Joanie is an excellent advocate in the community for BBBS. From winning a BBBS photo contest this summer to engaging her employer to participate in our holiday Adopt-a-Family program, she is always helping to raise awareness for our program. She also includes Rayqueesha in her passion for volunteering. The match represented BBBS when they participated in Ypsi PROUD, a community beautification project. When a match works together to raise awareness for BBBS, they are defending the potential of every Little both in our program and on our wait-list.

CODY & DALE, 2008

Matched since 2002

Littles that experience successful long term matches, like Cody, show statistically significant improvements in the areas of Social Acceptance and Attitudes Towards Risky Behaviors.

CODY & DALE, 2019

17 years later

In 2019 Dale was Best Man in Cody's wedding. Congratulations Cody and Anna!!


Tom Demmon

Mohamed and Tom have been matched since 2017. From the first moments of their match, Mo’s big dream was to play for the NBA. Tom has spent a great deal of time supporting and encouraging that dream. From regular one on one games to helping Mo go to basketball camp, Tom has worked hard to Ignite Mohamed’s Potential, so he felt his dream was attainable.

This match has spent countless hours on the court playing basketball. Tom talks about Mo’s game with great pride. He reminisced that in the beginning, he won most of their games, but now Mo wins most of the games. Off the court, Mohamed says he often calls Tom when he needs advice. “He helps me with basketball, and he guides me in life.” The trust Mo and Tom have built, empowers Mo to own his potential and pursue his dreams.

Tom loves to talk about the impact being a Big has had on his life. Tom feels so strongly about the positive impact that his match has had on both him and Mohamed, that he actively advocates for our program in his church. He even made a commercial, to helps raise awareness about the need for more Bigs in his community. By raising awareness, and leading by example Tom is not only defending Mo’s potential but the potential of the over 100 kids on our wait-list.


Our mission is to help youth achieve their fullest potential. That journey begins with a match. When a Big and Little begin their relationship, the Big, with the help of Match Support, guides the Little towards realizing the limitless nature of their own inherent potential.

Even in the best of times, our Littles are facing adversity at a higher rate than the average young person in America.


Making a Big impact in a Little's world.


As matches grow through time spent together, discovering shared interests and experiencing new things, they begin to build trust and respect. A caring reliable Big helps a Little build confidence. They begin to believe in themselves, and truly own their potential.



Each year, during the month of March, sponsors, community members, BBBS Board and staff come together to celebrate their fundraising achievements and Bowl for Kids’ Sake (BFKS)! The energy is always high at this fun-filled afternoon event, complete with a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, and plenty of social media-worthy selfies.


A Fall Evening with Big Brothers Big Sisters has evolved over the years into a casually elegant, “must-attend” event in Washtenaw County. Held annually in September, each year at a different private home, friends of BBBS gather to experience fabulous food and wine, a thrilling live auction, moving words from a distinguished Big Brother/Sister and to enjoy the shared company of people that believe in and support the transformative power of one-to-one mentoring.


When a match builds on a stong foundation of trust and respect they form a deep bond. That bond reinforces a Little's confidence and sense of self. Littles who enjoy a long, successful match make better choices and become the Defenders of their own potential.

We are proud of the work we have done in 2019, but there are still over 100 Littles waiting for thier Big. With your support, we can match even more of them.


Thank you for making all of our stories possible.


Bigs, Littles, Guardians, Waitlist Families, Donors, Volunteers & Staff... We are all Defenders! The future is bright and together we will ignite it!


We could not do what we do without your consistent gifts of time, talent and financial support. You make everything possible, and we are greatful for you every single day.



11 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI 48197,  (734) 975-0933