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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida is On a Mission to Enrich Children's Lives

By Elisha Neubauer

Some organizations have a name that is recognizable to just about anyone- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida is one of those organizations. Beginning as two separate entities (the Big Brothers, launched by New York Court Clerk Ernest Coulter in 1904, and Catholic Big Sisters launched around the same time by the Ladies of Charity) they combined in 1977 with the hopes of enriching children's lives by providing caring role models. The organization operates in every state and in 12 countries worldwide.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida has been celebrating one hundred years of service to the youth of the Jacksonville area and has accumulated over two hundred sponsors and supporters. "Our Community-Based matches frequent local sporting events like the Jacksonville Jaguars' football games, Armada matches, local beaches as well as other local attractions like the Agricultural Fair, museums and plays at the Florida Theatre," explains Ashley Strickland, Director of Community & Donor Engagement and Alexis' Big Sister. "This is especially helpful when our local community partners provide complimentary or low cost admissions."

There are many unique events offered by the organization, but perhaps one of the most interesting is the Beyond School Walls program. "The students are picked up from their school and then taken to their Bigs' workplace to learn more about the industry, their Big's jobs and to also participate in Big & Little activities together." Other activities range from 'Getting to Know You' worksheets to holiday parties and team building projects.

Another exciting venture taking place in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida organization is the Wine Women & Shoes fundraiser event. This event, which will be held on Saturday, September 24 at the Jessie Ball duPont Center, is one of the most popular fundraising events for Big Brothers Big Sisters, an elegant event that is all about fashion, fundraising and comradery. "WW&S has a Marketplace where guests can enjoy samples of a variety of wine while shopping boutiques in Jacksonville and surrounding areas," Strickland states. A silent and live auction as well as a diamond raffle, a plated lunch, chocolate tastings and a fashion show are also included in the event.

But, events aside, the main mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida is to bring caring role models into the lives of children. "The kids really do enjoy getting out with their Bigs and experiencing new things," says Strickland. "Our kids really look at their Bigs like friends and really enjoy the time they spend together whether it's a fun activity with other Bigs & Littles or community service projects serving others."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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