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Bnos Agudath Israel has a long proud history of innovation, starting many successful initiatives. One of these is the highly acclaimed Bnos One on One Big Sister Little Sister Program. Bnos One on One was founded in 2009 with the mission of building greater resiliency in young adolescents by providing them with a role model and mentor to offer emotional support and encouragement. 12th grade girls meet with their sixth or seventh grade counterpart once a week for fun activities or just to schmooze.

The program which is operated by Bnos Agudath Israel of America and is funded by The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES has grown to include close to 1,000 girls in Atlanta, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Denver, Edison, Far Rockaway, Five Towns, Queens, Lakewood, Los Angeles, Miami, Monsey, and Toronto.

The program features weekly meetings between the “Big Sister” and “Little Sister,” which provide opportunities for recreation, study, or just a good shmooze. Along with the mentor-style relationship, the Big Sisters help build self-esteem and confidence, as well as providing a forum in which the ‘tweens can discuss personal issues while feeling understood and safe. Many of the relationships that begin in the program develop into lifelong friendships.

Events are held for participants to launch the new year, as well as to wrap it up and periodically through out the year, such as for Chanukah and Purim. They are joyous gatherings cementing the relationships of the girls and providing a healthy dose of self-esteem. The year-end events included ice skating, scrap-booking and various other exciting group activities.

The program is highly praised by educators, parents and the participants themselves.The happy faces of the participants are testimony to the effectiveness of the program. “Sixth graders are at a crossroads in their lives,” says Chana Baila Hass, Director of Bnos Agudath Israel. “They are no longer kids but are not quite adults yet either. We hope that this program continues to help the girls navigate this important stage of life.

“We express our appreciation to all of the Big Sisters who have given of their time so selflessly. Hatzlacha to all the Little Sisters as they enter an exciting phase of their life.”

To learn more about his exciting program or to bring it to your city or community, email bnos@agudathisrael.org.