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Program History

Developed in 1904, the Big Brothers Big Sisters National Organization is recognized as the oldest, largest, and most effective youth mentoring organization in the United States, with over 400 affiliate agencies nationwide.

The Guidance Center, our sponsoring organization, first provided mentoring services in McKean County through a locally developed Volunteer Friend Program that began in 1980. In November 1989, The Guidance Center initiated the process to become affiliated with the Big Brothers Big Sisters National Organization (BBBSA). A McKean County Big Brothers Big Sisters Task Force was formed, a casework manual was developed, and required policies/procedures were established.

Provisional affiliation with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America was granted in 1990. In September 1992, The Guidance Center underwent an intense review process and site visit with National. The Guidance Center’s program was assessed on its compliance with 151 standards and procedures and was awarded full membership to the National Organization. The Guidance Center expanded program services to Elk County in October 2001, and then to Jefferson County in 2008.