Big Brothers Big Sisters program

To be a “Big” (a mentor) in a Big Brothers Big Sisters program is an exciting opportunity and provides a major benefit for the community in which you live. It provides a supportive relationship for a kid in the community that for many turns into a longterm source of growth and success.

This was the case for Kristi Lumbeck and Crystal Nevel. Kristi and Crystal were matched in 1986, when Kristi began at MacMurray College as a freshman. The two would eat in the MacMurray dining hall together and study on campus. Kristi would help Crystal with her reading for the Book-It program, which would turn into pizza prizes at Pizza Hut. The time the two spent at MacMurray encouraged Crystal to pursue college as well, as she herself attended MacMurray once she graduated high school.

Once Crystal turned 18, she became a “Big” for us, returning the support that Kristi gave her for many years while the two were matched. Kristi reminisced about her time as a “Big,” saying, “When my husband and I started dating, he was a ‘Big.’ It’s one of the things I loved about him, because I knew what a big impact it makes in a child’s life. Once we were married, we became a ‘Big’ couple to three different boys; two in Jacksonville and one in Marshalltown, Iowa. We went to our ‘Littles’’ ball games, took them out to eat and played games.”

The two have remained in contact, as matches often do even once they leave the program. Crystal went on to become a teacher, which was the same profession into which Kristi chose to go. One of Crystal’s favorite memories was being a part of Kristi’s wedding. Kristi was under the impression she wasn’t going to be able to make it, but Crystal was able to surprise her.

Kristi and Crystal’s story highlights the amazing impact you can make by volunteering to be a “Big” in our program. “I am positive that if not for Kristi and my relationship with her, I never would have gone to college or become a teacher like her. The positive role model and unconditional love she provided for me kept me out of trouble.”

If you’d like to sign up to be a “Big,” give us a call at 217-243-3821 or visit our website at

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