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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County

Organization Mission

We create and support one-on-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. We have served more than 7,000 local at-risk children, providing a crucial foundation at a critical time of their lives.

Mentors make Santa Cruz County a safer and healthier place by helping children make better decisions, which increases their chances of staying in school and decreases their challenges with substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and the criminal justice system.

The Big Idea 2022:
Transgender Matching Program &
LGBTQ+ Service Expansion

Big Brothers Big Sisters began matching transgender youth throughout the county with volunteer transgender adult mentors in 2015. We will increase support to our mentors, matches and other agencies on LGBTQ+ matters through training, roundtables and enhanced match support and activities to address this underserved population.

Studies consistently document pervasive injustice and bias faced by LGBTQ+ and particularly transgender people. Discrimination and bias often begins in childhood, as LGBTQ+ youth explore gender identities. They are at high risk of harassment, physical and sexual violence, and suicide. We work in close partnership with other agencies to implement a proven mentoring model which serves as a national model.

Being part of the Trans Mentoring Program has been a transformative and healing experience for our family. Our daughter not only has someone whose focus is solely on her, she also has someone that she can talk about things with who has answers to questions I do not. This relationship has been a balm, especially after issues with our family members as a result of being 'out.'


M****, Santa Cruz County mother
(name withheld for confidentiality)