Big Brothers Big Sisters Joins President Barack Obama to Mark National Mentoring Month

Jan 19, 2010, 14:35 ET from Big Brothers Big Sisters

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- A Big Brothers Big Sisters Military Mentoring program Big Brother 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 nation's largest donor-based network of volunteer mentors for youth and corporate partner Jack in the Box Inc., which has just pledged $1 million in continued support for Big Brothers Big Sisters' military mentoring efforts, will join President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as they pay tribute to mentoring.

Big Brother Anselmo DeLaCruz and his 11-year-old Little Brother Andre Fernandez were matched in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado's Operation Mentor program in Colorado Springs.  Anselmo, who is married with a 2-year-old daughter, became a Big Brother when he was medically discharged from the Army as the result of a bomb injury while serving in Iraq.  Andre's mother is an Army reservist who also faces possible deployment and his father is an active duty soldier who has been to Iraq and is currently stationed in New York.  Anselmo and Andre's match is supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters program specialist, Aaron Green, who is a former Little Brother.

Also participating in the White House event is Linda Lang, chairman and CEO of Jack in the Box Inc., a longtime supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters' military mentoring programs. In 2004, funding from The Jack in the Box Foundation enabled Big Brothers Big Sisters to launch Operation Bigs at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in Oceanside, Calif., and continued funding from the restaurant company has enabled Big Brothers Big Sisters to expand the program in San Diego County.

"We're pleased to commit an additional $1 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters to expand its military mentoring programs," Lang said. "We're proud to support our nation's youth who bravely share their parents with the rest of the country, and we commend the military personnel and volunteers for their efforts in filling the void created in a child's life when a parent is deployed."

President Barack 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.

"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."

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.  

About The Jack in the Box Foundation

Created in 1998, The Jack in the Box Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization funded by donations from Jack in the Box Inc., its employees, franchisees and vendors. The Foundation focuses the company's charitable giving in order to make a greater impact in Jack in the Box® restaurant communities. The Foundation has contributed approximately $4 million in financial and in-kind support to Big Brothers Big Sisters, its primary charitable partner since 1998. Jack in the Box restaurants is one of the nation's largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,200 restaurants in 18 states. For more information, visit

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

SOURCE Big Brothers Big Sisters