34 Years of Better Forevers

We have lived to serve, and we will continue that mission.

Local History

In 1983, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks was incorporated in Springfield, Missouri. The founding board included:

  • Nancy & Larry O'Reilly
  • Tom Barr
  • Norb Bagley
  • Stan Jinks
  • Franklin Greene
  • David O'Reilly
  • Larry Dixon
  • Katie Tynes
  • Les Reynolds
  • Dee Brooks
  • Betty Israel
  • Calvin Allen
  • Steve Johnson
  • Pam Mark
  • Vivian Bruner
  • Mark Morris

Since its inception, BBBSO has grown to serve more than 700 children annually through its mentoring programs in 18 counties. The vision of our building began with a generous cash contribution from John Heitz, Susan Boswell, and Dick and Anise Pendleton. Groundbreaking for the new building named in memory of John’s father, John P. “Jack” Heitz took place on March 18, 2005. Through fundraising efforts of the staff and Board of Directors, the construction of the 3,500 square-foot building was completed and opened in October 2005. The mortgage on the building was paid off in 2007 thanks to much support from several donors, in-kind donations, and a substantial gift left by a generous donor who included the agency in her will. In honor of that donation, Marilyn’s Match Room was established, which is the space where Littles meet their Bigs for the first time. In 2008, John, Susan, and the Pendletons were so impressed with the way BBBSO was able to build and pay off the building loan in only 2 years that they decided to give an additional contribution of their 3.4 acre tract of land on which our building currently stands. To meet the agency’s growing needs, fundraising began with a lead gift from the Heart of the Ozarks Sertoma in August 2010 for an 1,180-square-foot building addition. The addition was completed in April 2012, and thanks to a significant gift by John Heitz, the addition was named in memory of his mother, Edith A. Heitz. All funding for this addition was secured before completion.