Giving Matters

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee was originally founded as Buddies of Nashville in 1969 and is a regional affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. During the past 47 years, we have impacted the lives of thousands of Greater Nashville children by creating opportunities for growth and achievement of dreams. We currently serve eight Middle Tennessee counties: Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Sumner, Robertson, Dickson, and Cheatham. Our 32 full-time employees, four part-time staff members and two contract employees are professionals committed to bettering the lives of young people in our communities.

One-to-one mentoring relationships are facilitated by matching a screened, approved, and responsible adult volunteer with a child in need of an additional caring adult in his or her life.

The mentor provides friendship, encouragement and positive role modeling for the child for a minimum of one year — though many matches last much longer. The mentor and child meet 4-8+ hours per month, engaging in activities ranging from reading and schoolwork to sharing a meal, visiting a museum, or attending a Nashville Predators game. The nationally developed Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Survey provides outcomes data to gauge the effectiveness of the program for children who have been served for at least one year. Results show that children served in mentoring relationships are more likely to develop life skills essential to positive youth development such as social acceptance, strong parental relationships, higher educational expectations and academic performance, and avoidance of risky behaviors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has been providing mentoring services for more than 100 years, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring model we employ is the national gold standard. Thorough volunteer screening, training, and ongoing agency supervision of matches set Big Brothers Big Sisters apart from other mentoring services. Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring is an evidence-based practice, recognized nationally in the federal Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide and in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.

Every child in Middle Tennessee would benefit from having a mentor in their daily life to help guide them in the right direction. Unfortunately, many kids today are faced with growing up in a single parent household and where a one-to-one mentoring relationship is not available. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee is working very hard to help change this situation by matching caring adult volunteers (Bigs) with kids in need (Littles). The work of this agency and others like it can change the outcome of kids that may otherwise fall through the cracks of society. The one-to-one mentoring relationship with a kid in need is as fulfilling for the Big as it has the potential to be for the Little. It has been proven one to one mentoring works. It makes a difference in everything from improving grades in school to their self-confidence. There are many different ways in which to get involved and help us achieve our missions. If you want to help make a difference in the life of a child in need, please contact the agency today. The rewards of your involvement are immeasurable.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee is spearheading a movement to change how our children grow up in America. We are now being recognized not only as a provider of the most effective mentoring model in the country, but more importantly as a powerful community change agent that is impacting education, public safety, and health in our communities. What Big Brothers Big Sisters achieves as an organization represents a vehicle for a citizen-based solution and a key component of any serious strategy to enhance the well-being of our communities. We are utilizing technology and a performance management culture to assist in our continuing managed growth.

Our commitment to our investors is to remain passionate and true to our mission and to never cease looking for ways to improve as an organization. Big Brothers Big Sisters Middle Tennessee will be a model for not only the social nonprofit enterprise sector in this regard, but one of the best run businesses-period. We believe that our agency is playing a key role in the "community succession plan" for our area through the nurturing of our young people. We must invest in prevention over the failed practice of increasing incarceration. There are many options for getting involved with this movement and we invite you to choose what resonates most with you.

Melissa Hudson-Gant began serving as the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle TN in June 2018, bringing to the organization more than 20 years of nonprofit management and leadership experience. Most recently, Melissa served as the Vice President of Philanthropy and Chapter Development for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Serving as a key member of the Senior Leadership Team, she was responsible for developing and leading regional chapters and diversifying the organization’s revenue base. During her tenure, she launched a national run/walk fundraising program and created a robust portfolio including major, annual giving and grant programs, quadrupling revenue in four years. She also cultivated partnerships to increase the organization’s impact leading to an organizational expansion nationwide.

Prior to PBTF, Melissa served as Regional Development Director and Director of Major Gifts for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee and Director of the Team in Training and Light The Night campaigns with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Tennessee Chapter. As a native of the area, she studied political science and liberal studies at MTSU and is thrilled to join such a well-respected, impactful organization supporting a community she calls home.