In 1904, a young New York City court clerk named Ernest Coulter was seeing more and more boys come through his courtroom. He recognized that caring adults could help many of these kids stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers.
From this beginning (as described on the Big Brothers Big Sisters Web site), the concept of the volunteer “Big Brother” emerged. By 1916, Big Brothers had spread to 96 cities across the country and a parallel organization for girls, Big Sisters, had started, too. Merged in 1977, Big Brothers Big Sisters currently operates in all 50 states and in 35 countries around the world. This is the history of this effort to bring “caring mentors into the lives of children.”