May's Charity of Choice: How you can impact the future of the next generation!
Big Brothers Big Sister of America
One of the greatest ways we can make an impact on someone’s life is to spend quality time with them. This holds especially true when it comes to building positive and lasting relationships with at-risk or disadvantaged youths. Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization that acts upon this reality. They look to ensure that all children achieve success in life, and they do so by facilitating mentor relationships between adult volunteers and the future generations of this world.
The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to provide children facing adversity with professionally supported, strong and enduring one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
Basically, they are a community-based mentoring program that matches youths ages 6-18 with adult volunteers who are typically between 20-34 years old. The children are predominantly from low income, single parent households.
How it works
The parent or guardian applies for the child to be matched through a written application as well as a child/parent interview. Volunteer mentors are screened by a Big Brothers Big Sisters caseworker through a personal interview, home visit, and criminal background, and reference check to make sure they are not a risk and would likely be a positive relationship for the youth. Before a match is made, the child and parent meet with the potential mentor; the match’s completion requires the parent’s approval.
From there, the child and the mentor meet 2-4 time a month for at least a year. They go out and do activities together and form a positive and supportive friendly relationship, not one focused on behavioral change.
During the first year, caseworkers touch base monthly to be sure the relationship stays positive and to help resolve any issues.
Children and teens that participate in the program see positive behavioral and decision-making abilities. Compared to their peers in similar circumstances who were not in the program, they were overall 46% less likely to initiate drug use and 27% less likely to initiate alcohol use. They were also 33% less likely to assault someone. On top of that, those in the program skipped half as many school days and show greater scholastic gains. Overall, they also show improvements in relating to parents and their peers.
Where you come in
Big Brothers Big Sisters is always looking for volunteer mentors to be positive factors of change in the lives of children and teens. Aside from volunteering, donations are another way to show support and make an impact. Donations are put immediately to use to help facilitate the matching process. It is an investment in the people, systems, and technology in a program that makes a proven and lasting impact on people’s lives.
We believe in taking care of one another. We believe in making a positive impact on the world and can think of no better way to do so then with our future generations. That is why Golden Leaf has chosen Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as our Charity of Choice for May. We will be donating 10% of May’s sales to the organization in our efforts to make a change in a young person’s life. We hope you join us in taking care of one another. If you would like to donate on your own or would like to sign up as a volunteer, visit https://www.bbbs.org/.