More Than 200 Volunteers Needed to Mentor At-Risk Youth
LARGO - Who taught you to tie your first shoe? Who went to the first game you ever played in? Big Brothers Big Sisters is currently seeking volunteers to be a part of many "firsts" for children right here in Pinellas County. There are more than 200 children on the waiting list hoping for a Big Brother, Big Sister, or Big Couple. By investing just a few hours a month, volunteers can make a life changing impact on a child. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County is in dire need of mentors, especially male and minority mentors. There are more than 200 boys on the waiting list waiting to be matched with a positive role model. More than 74% percent of children waiting for a "Big" are boys, but only 34 out of every 100 inquiries to volunteer come from men. Now more than ever, Big Brothers Big Sisters needs male volunteers to step up and help kids.
Economic circumstances have created a greater need for more families to have professionally backed long-term mentoring support. Single-parent homes, neighborhoods with gangs and crime, poor role models and poverty can lead a child to despair, lack of self-worth, and ultimately poor choices. In addition, there are an increasing number of children being raised by relative caregivers in Pinellas County. These caregivers are unexpectedly faced with the challenge of raising children with time and resource constraints. Fortunately there are people who are willing to step up and provide these children with a positive, caring role model.
Mentoring is one of the most rewarding, enjoyable, and simple things a volunteer can do. For as little as one hour a week, volunteers can add joy to the life of a child, and ultimately, contribute greatly to his or her potential. Together, "Bigs" and "Littles" do simple, everyday activities, such as going to a sporting event, playing a game, going to a park, or watching movies. Research shows that having the positive influence of a "Big" makes a real difference in the life of a child. "Littles" experience improvements in academic performance, behavior and relationships at home and elsewhere, according to independent studies.
In Pinellas County, kids matched with a "Big Brother" or "Big Sister" are 96.5% less likely to become involved with the Department of Juvenile Justice. "Littles" have also demonstrated better success in school with a 96% promotion rate to the next grade level.
Since 1967, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County has been helping our communities' most vulnerable children through the power of a relationship with a "Big Brother" or "Big Sister", giving kids the support and care they need to make good choices. When a carefully screened adult volunteer is matched with a child at risk, the path to their future is repaved with hope.
You don't have to change your life to change the life of a child. Help Big Brothers Big Sisters change the lives of children and learn how you can make a difference by going to www.bbbspc.org or by calling (727) 518-8860.
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