PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Brother of the Year and his Little Brother will be recognized in a White House ceremony (Jan. 20th, 4 p.m., EST/East Room) to mark National Mentoring Month. The celebration comes as the nation's largest donor-supported network of volunteer mentors of youth issues a call for Americans to support its effort to match thousands of children, especially boys of color, who are waiting to be matched with mentors.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America's 2009 Big Brother of the Year, Ben De Leon, is an Austin, Texas attorney matched three years ago with now 11-year old Anthony. Ben met Anthony through a short-term mentoring program at his church four years ago. He discovered that the child had been waiting to be matched with a Big Brother. Impressed with how well they interacted, Anthony's grandmother put Ben in contact with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas to make the friendship official and ensure the mentoring relationship had the necessary support that would make it last.
President Obama has proclaimed January National Mentoring Month, urging Americans to give back to young people, saying mentors help children grow into productive and responsible adults. Big Brothers Big Sisters, a network of 385 agencies serving 255,000 children of single, low-income and incarcerated parents and their 255,000 mentors, expects an increase this month in volunteers and parents enrolling their children. To meet the demand for its services, the mentoring network is urging Americans to invest in the cause, not just with time, but also with financial support.
Ben's impact on his Little Brother illustrates the importance of the mentoring network's effort to become more engaged in African American and Hispanic communities to serve more boys who disproportionately represent the children who are waiting and ready to be matched with mentors.
"I am hopeful that I can continue to advance the organization's mission of getting more mentors, African-American and Hispanic males in particular to step up and make a difference to so many deserving, at-risk youth who can benefit in so many ways from Big Brothers Big Sisters," said Ben, who also supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas financially.
National Mentoring Month is spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a lead partner.
"Historically, National Mentoring Month is a great opportunity for us to recruit volunteers. However, our growth and ability to serve more kids who need us requires additional financial support to fund our careful mentor matching and the personal ongoing support we provide children, their parents and our volunteer mentors," said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and CEO Karen Mathis. "Our screening, monitoring and individual match support enables our agencies to sustain long-term mentoring friendships that yield successful outcomes, which differentiates Big Brothers Big Sisters as an organization that is proven to help vulnerable kids break negative cycles."
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters helps vulnerable children beat the odds. The organization depends on donations to help recruit volunteers and reach more children. Funding is used to conduct background checks on volunteers to ensure child safety; and provide ongoing support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters is proven to improve children's odds for succeeding in school, behaving nonviolently, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and breaking negative cycles. Headquartered in Philadelphia and with 385 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves more than a quarter million children. Learn how you can change how children grow up in America by going to BigBrothersBigSisters.org.
SOURCE Big Brothers Big Sisters