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Big Brothers Big Sisters Lehigh Valley and corporate sector work together to close the mentoring gap

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley is calling on leaders within the region’s corporate sector to do what they can to defend the potential within our youth.

In the Lehigh Valley, there are over 270 children on the Big Brothers Big Sisters waiting list.

A Lehigh Valley area Big Sister with her Little Sister. 

These children, who often come from low-income and/or at-risk backgrounds, are waiting and hoping to be matched with an adult mentor to spend some quality time and nurture a friendship with.

Whether 7 or 17, if matched with the right adult, the young person will experience a friendship that can have a lifelong positive impact. There just aren’t enough adult volunteers to match the need.

And it takes money to find, train and place new mentors.

“It’s a community wide problem that needs a community wide effort,” said Kimberly Hopkins, Development and Marketing Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley.

To help close the mentorship gap, Hopkins and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley have created the new “LEAD BIG:The Partnership for Potential” corporate membership club.

The program’s goal is to support 50 Big and Little (mentor/mentee) matches over the course of the next year through direct sponsorships by corporate partners. Each one-to-one mentoring match costs the nonprofit organization $1,200 annually to create and professionally-support during the span of the relationship.

LEAD BIG membership tiers include Visionary at $12,000; Pioneer at $6,000; Partner at $3,600; and Match Maker at $1,200.

Depending on the membership tier, corporations will receive certain professional development, networking and marketing benefits over the course of the year.

Susan Bartels, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley, said that the LEAD BIG initiative is a great way for companies to engage with the community at a time when many employees are looking for opportunities to give back to their community.

Kimberly Hopkins, development and marketing manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley 

“Lots of people are looking for a way to volunteer but they don’t know about the mentoring opportunities available to them,” noted Hopkins.

The one requirement of LEAD BIG members is that they communicate with their employees about opportunities to mentor.

“This is a great grassroots way to meet needs in the business world, as well as meet the needs of children who need mentors,” said Bartels. “and after all, these children will be the workforce of the future.”

Kicking off the program in the Lehigh Valley are corporate partners B. Braun Medical, Capital Blue Cross, Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania, PPL, UGI Utilities and West Side Hammer Electric.

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bartels, and Josh Hinkle, Board Chair, will be speaking at a LEAD BIG launch event at 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Mentoring Center in Allentown.

Murdocc Saunders, a Big Brother in a match sponsored by Capital Blue Cross, will be sharing his story as a mentor at the event. Representatives from LEAD BIG corporate launch partners and local State Representatives are expected to attend, in addition to other Big and Little matches.

Companies can learn more or become a member at




Dawn Ouellette Nixon
Dawn Ouellette Nixon is a career journalist who believes that good journalism can change the world. As the health care reporter, she covers everything from small town medicine to big pharma. You can also find her chasing a good business story in Berks County. She can be reached at or 610-807-9619, extension 4118.

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