CBS Chicago: Nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters opening 5 new offices across Chicago area

Read the full article and watch the CBS segment on their website here.

By Jamaica Ponder
February 8, 2024 / 11:09 AM CST / CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The nonprofit organization Big Brothers Big Sisters is getting even bigger.

The 120-year-old organization is expanding with five new offices opening throughout the Chicago area.

The Auburn Gresham Healthy Lifestyle Hub just welcomed a new tenant.

"We're here today to celebrate the opening of our South Side office as part of our regional strategy to better serve our community," said President and CEO Jeremy Foster, Big Brothers Big Sisters Metro Chicago. "The second day I became CEO, and I overheard one of our staff members talking to a mother who called us to match her son with a big brother, and I heard, sorry, we can't help you. We don't have any volunteers in that area, and it was crushing to hear that."

Foster set out to fill the gaps and grow the organization to serve five thousand kids. The biggest step - opening five new offices in communities they struggled to serve.

"For the benefit of physically being in a community is you become part of the community, it builds trust, relevance," he said.

Relevance enough that more than a handful of community members, from teachers to pastors, came out to celebrate their new South Side location.

"Oftentimes people are leaving, and they're like, you know, you're one of the few organizations that's actually coming here, opening up new offices, bringing new programming here for our community," Foster said.

They plan to work with existing stakeholders in the neighborhood, now their new neighbors, to build long-lasting relationships.

"This is the community's organization. So when you do that authentically, the community wraps your arms around you and becomes part of the mission," Foster said. "So that's what's been pretty cool to see, is the community response."

In the past month, Big Brothers Big Sisters has already opened four of their five new offices. They're now in northwest Indiana, southland, and there's one coming to Lake County soon.