Our Organization

We are here to start something.



Our Mission

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

We have been the leader in one-to-one mentoring for more than a century, developing positive relationships that have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of young people. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County serves children ages 6-14.



Our Vision

To be recognized as the premier one-to-one mentoring organization in Elkhart County, creating brighter futures and a stronger community.


The Results

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ one-to-one youth mentoring has been shown to have a significant and positive impact on the lives of children, according to the first-ever nationwide impact study of a mentoring organization.

Researchers found that after 18 months of spending time with their Bigs, the Little Brothers and Little Sisters were:


0%
less likely to begin using illegal drugs

0%
less likely to begin using alcohol

0%
less likely to skip school

0%
less likely to skip a class
one-third less likely to hit someone
more confident of their performance in schoolwork
getting along better with their families

Executive Staff


Menessah Nelson

Executive Director
(574) 830-5013
Contact

Brianne Feeks

Program Director
(574) 830-5013
Contact

Sarah Baker

Program Specialist
(574) 830-5013
Contact

Tia Chapo

Community Engagement Coordinator
(574) 830-5013
Contact

Cynthia Herms

Enrollment Specialist
(574) 830-5013
Contact

Christine Stutzman

Enrollment Specialist
(574) 830-5013
Contact

Board of Directors



Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County is governed by a Board of Directors whose roles are crucial to the development and growth of the agency.

They are committed to helping girls and boys grow into the next generation of caring, confident and competent adults. They serve as ambassadors to the community, helping to spread the message about the importance of mentoring and identifying and encouraging other community leaders and potential volunteers to join the agency in mentoring and supporting local youth. Their talents, perspective and professional expertise are unique assets and Big Brothers Big Sisters is grateful for their time and advocacy.

Nick Lochmandy, President
Erin Bantz, Vice-President
Ivannia Graber, Treasurer
James Johnson
J.D. Hershberger
Doug Reese
Angie Schwartz
Kyle Woolsey


What is the Partnership for Children?

The Partnership for Children is all about our community’s youth! It is an unprecedented collaboration among youth serving agencies to assist Elkhart County youth with challenging needs who attend those programs.

The project provides services to those youth within the partner agencies, using a wraparound themed approach. In addition, the program offers staff development opportunities focused on how to support youth with behavioral health challenges.

What does the Partnership do?

The Partnership for Children helps children who are showing significant difficulties in their youth agency activities or other community contexts.

The immediate goal is to help these children and youth develop the social and behavioral skills to participate effectively in the community’s rich array of youth development programming.


The partnership includes:


  • Bashor Children’s Home
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Elkhart County
  • The Crossing
  • CAPS
  • Center for Community Justice
  • Five Star Life
  • The Post
  • Lifeline Youth Ministries
  • Oaklawn
  • Ryan’s Place
  • Tolson Center

What will the Partnership accomplish?


Referred youth will:

Achieve personalized behavioral and social skill objectives, enabling them to continue with meaningful participation in community support programs.

Develop a broader personal, family, and social support system.
Avoid the juvenile justice system, school suspension, and high risk, dangerous behaviors.

Partner organizations will:

Benefit from professional staff development to enhance their skills in supporting at-risk youth with challenging behaviors.

Benefit from services in ways that make strategic use of their natural supports and settings.