Start Something…BIG!

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina is a United Way agency. We have been serving young people in Western North Carolina since 1982, and in that time have created over 11,712 life changing matches. We currently cover nine counties, matching children ages 6-14 from single-parent families with caring, adult mentors who believe in them and see their potential. 

 Big Things Happening This Month

A day in the life—after-school style

BBBS Buncombe County Announces Big Of The Month!

We caught this sweet photo of Big Sister Jamie and her Little Sister Genazia at this year’s Bowl For Kids Sake—they were having a blast bowling on Eaton Corporation’s team. Jamie has not only been an extremely involved mentor, but she has also participated in BBBS WNC’s ongoing fundraisers and events such as Run for Kids’ Sake 2015 and summer events at the WNC Nature Center and The Hop Ice Cream Cafe. Jamie has been an amazing support for our organization!

Jamie and Genazia were matched at a local elementary school in December of 2014 in our school-based program.  Thank you Jamie for being such a dedicated Big Sister! Enjoy your $10 gift certificate to Green Sage!! 

Thanks to everyone who participated for making Bowl For Kids Sake a Great Success!

Last Saturday at about 8:30 AM, the Bowl For Kids Sake teams started  trickling in at Sky Lanes in West Asheville. Before long, a line had formed at the registration table, the lanes were willing up, an awesome 80s playlist was streaming out over the PA—and the party had begun!

We believe that each child there is a special spark that, when provided with inspiration and encouragement, can lead them to become positive, productive citizens of our community and the world.

We has such a blast celebrating with you all during this year’s Bowl For Kids’ Sake event and thank you all for your participation! 

The Gutter Gurlz! Keeping things lively and playful.

This year’s dress up theme? “Your favorite literary character.” And there was not shortage of literary tastes on exhibit: The Gutter Gurlz (who won best team costume in the second round) included chimney sweeps from P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins series, Pippi Longstocking and a green-hued evil Witch of the West.

Fourth round’s  best team costume prize went to teams Thing One and Thing Two, which together included an array of Dr. Seuss’ fantastical characters ranging from the Lorax to Red Fish…and Blue Fish. However with the banana, monkey and Man in the Yellow Hat suits being sported just down the line on the Keller Williams Broker Asheville team, that round’s costume contest wasn’t easy to judge—and Broker Asheville easily took the runner-up slot.  

Many many thanks to AVL Technologies!

We are so honored by the amazing support that this community showed for our region’s children this year! We had 52 teams and over 200 individual bowlers come out—each of whom graciously put in their effort to raise funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC. 

Thank you so much MB Haynes for championing this event, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the lives of children throughout WNC.

The magnificent MB Haynes team sponsored ten lanes during the event’s first round; GE Aviation held down five lanes on the second round; AVL Technologies was the third round’s 800 pound gorilla with six lanes sponsored, and three different teams from Keller Williams sponsored six lanes in our final 3 PM-5 PM round.

These two pairs of Big/Little Sisters were having a blast bowling and sharing their mentoring experiences with each other.

It was great to see five Bigs participate with their littles!  Thanks to Jimmy Vestal and Reid Gonelia for your lane sponsorship so that these awesome pairs could come out, meet and connect with each other. 

To everyone that came out on Saturday: you are truly helping to start something BIG in the lives of children throughout our region. When a child has access to an enjoyable and caring relationship with an adult who BELIEVES in them—that child can believe in themselves. Littles show improvement in academics, life and social skills, and perhaps most importantly, they gain access to brand new experiences through which they develop higher aspirations of what’s possible for their lives.  

So many thanks to all of the amazing employees and their families who came out! Hope to see you all next year! 

March 1, 2017
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Buncombe Partners with Asheville Police Department for local “Bigs In Blue” Program 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Buncombe County and the Asheville Police Department have launched a brand new partnership that provides local youth with supportive mentors while also enriching community-police relations! 

On January 30th the program’s first match was made between APD forensics expert Carissa Herrington and her Little, Lonna, in Vance Elementary’s after-school program.“Bigs in Blue” is a national BBBS program that started late last year. It pairs police officers with local youth who need support, and Asheville is one of a growing number of cities around the nation that is participating.

“Bigs in Blue” is a national BBBS program that started late last year. It pairs police officers with local youth who need support, and Asheville is one of a growing number of cities around the nation that is participating.

“We are very excited with the response to the Bigs in Blue program” says Robin Myer, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC. In December, Myer met with APD Chief Tammy Hooper in December to discuss a local Bigs in Blue initiative, “Chief Hooper and the Asheville Police Department were on-board as soon as they learned about this nationwide initiative by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and we are looking forward to positively impacting more youth with this special program,” he says.

Locally, Bigs in Blue pairings are being made for BBBS WNC’s after-school and in-school programs and already, seven APD officers have volunteered to mentor. 

“I get to spend time with [Lonna] one on one, getting to know what’s going on in her life and also helping her through her personal challenges she is facing and giving her someone to talk to,” says APD forensics expert Carissa Herrington, adding that the program “[R]eally puts us out into the community…and gives the perspective of how we are helping with their safety and what we can do for them.”

As a Big, officers will spend an hour each week with their little—either assisting with studies and homework in school or connecting after-school through art, sports games and other activities. Additional locations slated for Bigs in Blue activities include Jones Elementary School, Montford Recreation Center, the YWCA after-school and Stephens Lee Recreation Center.

“The Asheville Police Department is excited for the opportunity to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Buncombe County to reach out to some of the youngest members of our community,” shared Chief Hooper, “One of the best things we can do to improve trust and help the youth in our city is to listen to them, spend time with them and just be there for them.”

February 28, 2017
Local WNC Mentors win statewide acclaim as “Big Brother and Big Sister Of the Year!”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina is proud to announce local mentors William Dickerson and Lynne Keating as North Carolina’s Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year.

It’s been five years since Dickerson, a resident of Buncombe County, first met his “little brother” Isiah.

“I always look forward to spending time with my Big Brother because when I’m with William, we always do something different,” reports Isiah.

As a result of their relationship, Isiah has discovered the opportunity to discover his talent in soccer through enrollment in a local soccer league as well as embracing his capacity for academic achievement.

The coming year will be marked with yet another milestone and growth opportunity for Isiah as he steps into The American Adventure Service Corps—a year round program dedicated to inspiring young people to become compassionate and conscientious community members

“In these times—when so many things could divide us—being a Big to Isiah has allowed me diversity in life that I cherish to be a part of.”

William Dickerson, Mentor

Experiencing new things and expanding horizons are common benefits reported by both Bigs and Littles as a result of their match, explains Elizabeth Spaulding, BBBS Program Director of Cashiers, who’s been providing match support for NC’s Big Sister of the Year, Lynne Keating, and her “little sister” Sophie.

“Lynne has been a champion for Sophie, encouraging her and nudging her gently to spread her wings and set her sights high. Their relationship has blossomed with time, and through that, Sophie has become a more independent, confident, vocal, and successful young woman.”

Elizabeth Spaulding, BBBS Cashiers 

“Ultimately, the Director of Education at the Bascom created a new title for Sophie: “Student Fellow,” Keating reflects.

When they were first matched over three years ago, Sophie’s interest in art quickly became clear to Keating, who found an opportunity to nurture that nascent talent with frequent trips to local art center Bascom.

With Keating’s help, Sophie is now enrolled as an art student at a private school in north Georgia, where she is not only developing her artistic talents, but also discovering opportunities for leadership and project collaboration.

“Not only has Lynne helped me immensely these past couple of years, she’s proven to be an amazing friend,” says Biaso, “She’s never spoken to me as if I were a child. She’s always honest and willing to discuss, which is something I greatly appreciate. I think without Lynne I wouldn’t have been pushed to go out of my comfort zone in many situations, and I don’t think I would have progressed this much as a person without her.”

The National Big Of The Year Selection Committee will announce the National Big Of The Year in April, 2017.


Our vision is to provide a mentor for every child who needs or wants one.

Project MARS/AmeriCorps is Supported by a grant from the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service in the  Office of Governor Roy Cooper