Our Organization

Igniting Potential



Elkhart Philosophy

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County facilitates and fosters mentoring relationships, between youth and adults, to create opportunities and experiences that build confidence and help youth succeed in life. We create positive, generational impact that includes the reduction of risky behaviors and increase lifelong success.

Our Vision

All youth achieve their full potential.

Our Mission

To create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

Our Accountability

By partnering with parents/guardians, volunteers, and others in the community we are accountable for each youth in our program achieving:

• Higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships

• Avoidance of risky behaviors

• Educational success





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 youth, 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

Our People


William Carnegie

Executive Director
executivedirector@bbbselkhart.org

Kara Wood

Chief Development Officer
kwood@bbbs-sjc.org

Aubrea Mvalo, BA

Match Support Specialist, Team Lead
aubrea@bbbselkhart.org

Shelby Kowal

Customer Relations Specialist
shelby@bbbselkhart.org

LaTasha Bosse, MA

Program Operations Director
latasha@bbbselkhart.org

Lyndsey Zollinger, BSW

Program Support Specialist
lyndsey@bbbselkhart.org

Nancy Miller

Community Engagement Manager
nancy@bbbselkhart.org

2020 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.

Adriana Bontreger, Chair – Centier Bank
Mike Steinau, Vice Chair – DJ Construction
Erin Bantz, Secretary – Sanders Pianowski, LLP
Casey Zitkus, Treasurer – First State Bank
Craig Blough – DeLaval Inc.
Bart Fore – Work One
Curtis Gunter – Forest River
Matt Kerby – Pathfinders
Thomas Korenstra – Lippert Components
Brent Miller – Everence
T.J. Miller – Crowe Horwath
Chris Smith – Interra


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.