Our History

Big Brothers of Saginaw Forms

April 1, 1953

In 1952, the Optimist Club of Saginaw provided a grant to initiate a Big Brother agency. Subsequently, 18 interested individuals formed the first Board of Directors of Big Brothers of Saginaw, Inc. In April 1953, the agency officially became a corporation. Financing in the early years came from the Morley and Eddy Foundations and fund-raising projects. In October 1953, the first executive director was hired.

Big Brothers of Midland County Founded

April 1, 1955

Big Brothers of Midland County was established in April 1955. Their motto was, “No man stands so straight as when he stoops to help a boy.” The purpose of the organization was “To provide guidance for boys who come from broken homes or are in trouble with the law.” They had an acting chairman and an 18-member board of directors.

Big Sisters of Midland County Founded

May 1, 1959

In May 1959, Big Sisters was established through the impetus of the Zonta Club in Midland, and was incorporated. Their original mission was “To provide individual support to the emotional, moral and spiritual needs of the child; to guide the child toward socially acceptable behavior, and to help her attain faith in herself and experience trust in adults.”

Big Brothers Saginaw Building Opens

January 1, 1960

In 1960, a building to house Big Brothers of Saginaw was completed on the corner of Fordney and Rust. The building was built completely by donated materials and labor through the efforts of the Saginaw Labor Council and interested citizens and businesses.

Big Sisters Becomes Member of Midland County Community Fund

January 1, 1962

In 1962, Big Sisters became a member of the Midland County Community Fund, and received scholarship money for the first time to send children to camp. Camp experiences have been given to thousands of Midland County children and remains an important aspect of our program.

Partnership With Friendship House Begins

January 1, 1965

In 1965, a five-year pilot project entitled “A New Dimension in Service for Big Sisters” is created in relation to the establishment of the Friendship House. The House, located at 1115 Ashman Street, was then purchased in 1966 with a grant from the Dow Foundation. The Big Sisters offices were officially moved to the Friendship House in 1967. Friendship House operations began in 1968 with the new slogan “An adventure in friendship.” Friendship House remained the home of Big Sisters until August 1986 when Big Sisters and Big Brothers merged to form Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midland County, Inc.

Big Sisters Program Launches in Saginaw

March 1, 1967

The need for a Big Sister program in Saginaw was identified in 1966 by the Women’s Council of Saginaw. The Altrusa Club organized and sponsored the project in March of 1967 and the first Board meeting was held in August 1967. The first office was located in the First Congregational Church.

Wildcat Softball League Established

June 1, 1969

In 1969, the Wildcat Softball League was established in partnership with the newly formed Sunrise Optimist Club. Twenty waiting list boys, ages 8 to 12, comprised the league. Now managed by the Midland Girls Softball League, nearly 140 boys and girls learn to play the national pastime each summer through Wildcat Softball.

Big Brothers of Saginaw Bay Area, Inc. Forms

May 1, 1973

In May 1973, an office was opened in Bay City and joined forces with Big Brothers of Saginaw to become Big Brothers of Saginaw Bay Area, Inc.

Big Sisters Program Begins in Bay City

May 1, 1975

Married Couples Program Begins

October 1, 1979

In October 1979, the married couples program started and was titled, “Two for One.” It was originally designed for boys under the age of 8.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saginaw Bay Area, Inc. Forms

September 1, 1982

On September1, 1982, Big Brothers of Saginaw Bay Area and Big Sisters of Saginaw County merged to form Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saginaw Bay Area, Inc. The merger of the two United Way agencies saved an estimated cost of $15,000-$20,000 dollars the first year.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midland County Formed

August 1, 1986

In August 1986, Big Brothers of Midland County officially merged with Big Sisters of Midland County. The newly merged Big Brothers Big Sisters agency moved into the expanded office space of the old Big Brother program in the Barstow/Currie Building on Eastman Road. By 1990 the remodeled and refurbished Sears building on Main Street became the Strosacker Center and the new home of United Way of Midland County.

Teaming Up With Youth Started

February 1, 1998

The one major program innovation of the 1990’s occurred in February of 1998 when the new one-to-one matching strategy, “Teaming Up With Youth” began at Pine River Elementary School. This program continues to serve children in many elementary schools throughout Midland and Bay Counties.

Bowl for Kids’ Sake Begins

March 1, 2002

In March of 2002, Bowl for Kids’ Sake was launched in Midland. In subsequent years, events would be added in Saginaw, Mt Pleasant and Bay City, making Bowl for Kids’ Sake one of our largest annual fundraisers.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region Forms

June 1, 2012

Big Brothers Big Sisters in the Heart of Michigan and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saginaw Bay merged to form a regional organization, serving Saginaw, Midland, Bay and Isabella Counties.

Building Bright Futures Event Begins

December 14, 2017

In December of 2017, the first ever Building Brighter Futures event was held at the BBBS office in Midland. The event has grown into annual tours and breakfast events in Midland and Saginaw that showcase the impact BBBS has on kids in the community, and the challenges the organization faces to ignite their potential.

Scott Litle Named Executive Director

April 5, 2019

After a nationwide search, BBBS hired Scott Litle to lead the team as our new Executive Director. Scott brought years of experience as COO of the Great Lakes Loons to our agency, giving us the keys to enter a brighter future.

Virtual Mentoring Launched

October 1, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region launched virtual mentoring programs. These weekly programs allowed our site based Bigs and Littles to stay connected even while local schools were closed to in-person learning.

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