Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region has 66 local kids waiting for adult mentors right now. That should change soon.
The 67-year-old youth mentoring organization launched its second annual End Their Wait campaign, setting a goal to match the 66 kids on the waitlist throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region with mentors before the end of 2022.
“Over the past two years, our number of children served has been cut in half,” says Scott Litle, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region. “As a result, this is the largest waitlist we’ve had in nearly three years. We expect to begin serving more kids this fall as our site-based programs return in local schools. However, we have seen an alarming overall decline in the number of people applying to be mentors, combined with a greater number of kids in urgent need of mentors right now.”
Mentors are asked to commit to two to three match outings a month for a least one year, though many matches stay together much longer. The strongest matches bond over low- or no-cost activities such as walks in the park, game nights or cooking meals together.
Kids waiting for mentors range from 6 to 13 years of age, and come from a variety of backgrounds; though most come from single-parent homes or families struggling with poverty. Many are working to overcome academic challenges, experiences with bullying, or mental health concerns.
“The kids on our waitlist come from families who are still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent inflation,” said Litle. “They’re falling behind their peers, quickly. The need for mentors is the most urgent we’ve ever seen. It is critical that we End Their Wait now before they fall further behind.”
No experience is necessary to volunteer. Prior to matching with a child, prospective volunteers undergo an interview and background check process to ensure the safety of everyone involved. This also helps determine the best fit for a match. Additionally, mentors receive training from match coordinators, and frequent support throughout their match.
The End Their Wait campaign seeks to bring in 66 new mentors by Dec. 31.
For more information about being a Big, or to get started, visit endtheirwait.com. You can also contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region at 844.4BE.ABIG, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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