100 River Rock Drive,
Suite 104, Buffalo, NY 14207
(716) 873-5833  
  807 W. State St. (C/O The United Way)
Olean, New York 14760
(716) 480.9614  |  fax: (716) 873.6350   |   info@beafriend.org

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Statement of Guiding Principles to Advance Racial Equity and Justice 

As leaders who are committed to equity and justice, as mission-focused organizations who are stewards of the public trust, and as a nonprofit sector with far-reaching impact on the national economy, the undersigned are committed to advancing racial justice and equity in all areas of civic and community life. We are deeply moved by the stark racial injustice that the intersecting crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and police violence toward people of color have once again revealed — racial injustice that is intertwined with America’s past and its present. The racial and ethnic disparities that persist across economic, education, healthcare, criminal justice, and other sectors of society make clear that systemic racism continues to undermine the foundations of well-being for communities of color by denying access to opportunity and making it more difficult to secure jobs, housing, healthcare, education, nutrition and equal treatment under law.
Faced with this moment of national urgency and entrusted by communities to lead in crisis, we affirm and commit to utilizing the following principles and values as a guide in our individual collective efforts to advance equity and justice:
We commit to dismantling systemic racism, redressing past discrimination, and advancing equity within our organizations, in our communities, and in our nation–through our organizational polices and practices in our programmatic work and by advocating for changes in public policy and law. Racial and ethnic disparities are a direct result of systemic racism today as well as past, unremedied discrimination that was often imposed or sanctioned by the government. Addressing these disparities requires our active engagement to change law, policy and practice.
We are committed to achieving a more comprehensive approach to justice and safety that invests needed resources in schools, child care, mental and behavioral health, affordable housing, job training and other supportive programs and services that contribute to healthy, strong, safe and vibrant communities. Societal goals of racial justice and public safety are best achieved when communities have the resources to match crisis situations with an appropriate response, whether that be mental and behavioral health, social service, police and other interventions
As we work to strengthen communities, we must listen to and lift up the voices and experiences of impacted people and communities, particularly the voices of young people in those communities who will lead future generations. Intentionally engaging impacted communities strengthens policies, strategies, and decision-making. When we center and address the needs of the most marginalized, we recognize their humanity and advance equity and opportunity for all.
As we evaluate our programmatic work as well as policy proposals and legislation, we will specifically examine the extent to which they decrease racial disparities and oppression, particularly in systems and settings known to disproportionately and negatively impact people of color and other marginalized groups; advance solutions that have been developed in collaboration with and have the support of impacted communities, incorporate an intersectional and multi-sector approach to community challenges; and include the investments needed to fully implement and achieve racial equity outcomes.
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
American Alliance of Museums
American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
Americans for the Arts
Association of Art Museum Directors
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Catholic Charities USA
Council for Advancement and Support of Education
Covenant House International
Feeding America
Girls Inc. 
Goodwill Industries International, Inc. 
Habitat for Humanity International 
Independent Sector 
Leadership 18
League of American Orchestras
Lutheran Services in America
Mental Health America
National Council on Aging 
National Council of Nonprofits 
National Human Services Assembly 
Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies
OPERA America 
United Philanthropy Forum 
United Way Worldwide 
The Salvation Army
The Arc of the United States 
Volunteers of America 
Welcoming America

Help End the Wait!


With this loss of funding and a shortage of potential volunteers, there are close to 160 local children who are waiting to be matched with a mentor, a Big Brother or Big Sister. You can help end the wait by giving now!


To make a donation click here


Help End The Wait campaign message from BBBSENST CEO, Tom Guagliardo.

To learn more visit biggertogether.org


Stand With Us Today!

We need Mentors More Than Ever! 

Join us for volunteer information sessions every Tuesday at noon to learn more about our agency and the volunteer opportunities we offer.  To register contact Ashley at agriffin@beafriend.org

Important Update – Response to COVID-19

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier, the safety of the children we serve and their families, as well as our volunteers (Bigs) and staff is always our main priority.

We are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and are taking steps to minimize the impact of an outbreak. We have decided to make the following precautionary changes to our program’s operations for at least the next three weeks (from now through Monday, April 20):

• Our staff will work remotely from their homes and will be available by email and phone.
• We are restricting all in person contact between our Bigs and Littles during this time, however our staff will be working with our Bigs to help them continue to communicate with their Littles via phone to ensure their mentoring relationship remains strong.
• We have cancelled any travel and scheduled agency events.

We remain as committed as ever to the safety and quality of our mentoring services. During this time of uncertainty and fear, we know that our Bigs will play a very crucial role in the lives of the children we serve, and our staff will be here for our Bigs, children and families whenever needed.

We also encourage everyone to review the recommendations from the Erie County Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control for reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection for yourselves and others.

We will provide you with additional updates about our program’s operations as needed.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your agency contact by phone or email, or email info@beafriend.org.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Stay Up to Date!

Follow us on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn as @BBBSENST.

Help Recruit the Next Generation of Bigs to our Team. 

The Big Draft is here.  You’re on the clock!

We’re thrilled to announce the Big Draft Recruitment Campaign! While the NFL is drafting its next players, we want to engage our community to help us draft the next generation of Bigs. This recruitment campaign stems from the BBBS partnership with the NFL Inspire Change Initiative. The goal of that program is to advance the national conversation and progress on social justice and to create positive change in communities across the country. The NFL supports our efforts to break down barriers and build stronger communities through our mentoring program.  From Feb. 9 – April 25, 2020 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier is following the NFL draft, aiming to recruit potential Bigs. 

Our CEO, Thomas Guagliardo was featured on WNY Living over the weekend and discussed how it only takes a few hours a month to make a positive impact on a child in our community.  We need eager people who want to invest in a child’s future.  You can visit biggertogether.org to learn more about the mentoring programs we offer and sign up to become a Big Brother or Big Sister. 


BBBS 2019 Holiday Partnerships

Holiday Corporate Partnerships 

Urban Outfitters Partners With BBBS During the Holidays!

In honor of Giving Tuesday, Urban Outfitters will donate 100% of the proceeds of reusable gift wrap sales sold in store and online, between December 1-31, 2019, to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Click here to download the list of stores that will be carrying the gift wrap, which will also be available online at www.UrbanOutfiters.com

Urban Outfitters, Inc., is a lifestyle product and services company, that has a long standing partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence. The relationship began after one of their employees participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters, first as a Little and then as a Big. As a result, Urban Outfitters decided to start a program where a number of their employees mentor a student every other weekend. Urban Outfitters believes that youth mentoring fosters a bright future for our surrounding communities. For more information about this campaign, click here.

Starbucks Announces December 2019 Campaigns 

Big Brothers Big Sisters is excited to announce national partnerships with Nordstrom Rack and Starbucks that will run nationwide from December 1-31, 2019, Starbucks will encourage customers to donate to one of three non-profit organizations: Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way, or Feeding America, giving back to communities across the United States. The Starbucks Foundation will match online donations made to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America up to $200,000. 

Nordstrom Rack In Store Campaign Launches December 3

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Nordstrom Rack are partnering to celebrate the moments of mentoring. In stores nationwide from December 3-31, customers can purchase a $10 Sponsor A Moment card to celebrate specific moments when mentors make a difference:

• Practicing for an interview

• Helping with homework

• Learning to tie a tie

In addition to the $10 Moment donation, customers will also be able to donate $1 at the cash register. $10 Moment donations and $1 donations are also available online at NordstromRack.com and Hautelook.com, although they will be processed at www.bbbs.org/nordstromrack.

2019 Magical Moments Gala Honorees Announced!

Help us congratulate our 2019 Magical Moments Gala Honorees! 

We will celebrate their dedication to supporting one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth on November 9, 2019 at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel

To learn more about the event contact Ashley Griffin at 873.5833 ext 243 or agriffin@beafriend.org

Lasting Legacy of Friendship

Lasting Legacy of Friendship

Big Sister Continues to Support Agency After Passing

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier recently celebrated a thoughtful legacy gift made by long-time Big Sister, Janet McMahon, who recently passed away. Janet made one more gift to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program to honor her lifetime commitment to helping children reach their full potential. With Janet’s gift, six local “Littles” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program were chosen to receive a gift card to purchase school supplies with their Big Brother or Big Sister for the new school year.

A’laysia and I had a wonderful time shopping for school supplies for her first day of first grade. She told me she hasn’t gotten the opportunity to shop for herself so this was a really fun and laid back experience,” said Big Sister Lois. “We are so humbled by Janet’s donation. This was a great opportunity to get closer to my Little, learn more about her, and also appreciate the generosity of someone who knows the program as well.

Little Sister A’laysia looking for folders

Big Sister Janet McMahon was involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Michigan for 10 years and in September 2007, she was matched locally with her Little Sister. Throughout their many years together, they enjoyed great experiences and navigated life’s challenges. In 2016, Janet received the 2nd Annual Thomas Hore and Josephine Santoro Hore Big of the Year Award for the years of unwavering support and guidance she had provided to her Little Sister. Besides volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, she was also a volunteer at Roswell Park, Habitat for Humanity, WNY Food Bank and Catholic Central Food Pantry. 

 Janet’s dedication to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program helps empower and inspire Littles to reach their fullest potential. The children in the program work everyday towards achieving their personal goals with the support and guidance of their Big Brother or Big Sister.






Rooftop Views for a Good Cause!

Rooftop Views for a Good Cause!

Our goal: Collect 50 gifts that are valued at $50 or more 

Bring a donation of $50 or more to be used in our Gala auction and enjoy wine, hors d’oeuvres and an awe-inspiring view of Downtown Buffalo and Lake Erie at one of New York State’s highest rooftop bars!  

Please pass the info along – we look forward to seeing you there!

**To RSVP call (716)873-5833 ext. 243 or e-mail agriffin@beafriend.org **