The History of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware
The first effort to develop the Big Brothers program in Delaware began in 1961. Concerned about delinquent and troubled youth from his experience as a volunteer at Ferris School, Daniel Daudon brought together a group of men to hear about the program from Charles Berwind, then President of Big Brothers of America. However, it was not until 1963 when Mr. Daudon learned of two men, Reverend William Work and Reverend Peter Ensor who had had previous experience with the Program, that the Big Brothers program in Delaware really began to take shape.
As a result of the efforts of these men and others, the Agency Board was incorporated on April 24, 1964 and held its first formal meeting on April 29, 1964. An initial flow of seed money contributed by individuals, private and community organizations, along with support supplied by the National Organization, afforded the Agency its first successful growth into the community service of providing much needed friendship and positive role models for many single-parent children. This service expanded in 1974 by incorporating a Big Sisters Program operating at that time in Kent County Delaware, forming the agency, as we now know it, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware, Inc.
Beginning with the very first Agency Director, Demo Carros, BBBSDE has been led by caring and committed individuals including Bill Webb, Dick Colosi, Joseph Duffy and current Executive Director Mary P. Fox. In addition, many community and industry leaders from across the state have served on the Agency Board of Directors to continue this vitally important work with our local youth.
With three offices in Delaware (Wilmington, Dover, and Georgetown), BBBS of Delaware annually matches over 1,400 youth with caring adult mentors. A private, non-profit organization, primary funding sources include United Way, agency-sponsored fundraising events such as Bowl For Kids’ Sake, governmental grants and private and corporate contributions. BBBSDE is a full member affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) and adheres to 65 program standards and required procedures, developed by BBBSA.
In addition to one-on-one mentoring, the organization has a strong history of providing school-based programs for youth, including life skills education drug abuse resistance education. In 1994, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware expanded its mentoring service and began a School-Based Mentor Program. Through this expansion, the organization has provided mentors to hundreds of at-risk students in schools throughout Delaware. In 1998, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware School-Based Mentor Program was recognized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for innovative programming the Delaware organization’s school mentor program model was replicated in hundreds of other BBBS agencies across the country.
The history of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware continues to be written each day as volunteers share their time with disadvantaged children, helping them to build a strong foundation of character which will serve them and our entire community for years to come.