In the next 87days, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend is hoping to recruit 100 male mentors for the 500 boys who are looking for a friend, but most of all, looking for some guidance.
In the last five years, Big Brothers Big sisters has grown 76 percent when it comes to the number of kids they serve.
“From a Big Brothers point of view being short of mentors doesn't make sense to me given the fact that 3 universities encompass the area.” Junior Aristide, Big Brother Little Brother member, said.
Most people think that joining the program and becoming a big brother is a difficult and time consuming job, but in reality it’s all about just simply showing up.
Last year around this time big brothers were in need as well. The “100 men campaign” brought in 86 new mentors and was part of a push to connect the growing number of young boys and young men with male role models.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend’s CEO, Louis Garcia, said, “Every year, hundreds of busy mothers and grandmothers sign up their sons and grandsons in the program, but they end up waiting as long as three years to be paired with a mentor.”
Some of the young men need guidance whether it is someone to talk to about things, academic help, or a nudge here and there to keep them on task. In efforts to keep track of progression between a child and mentor annual surveys are kept.
“Florida A&M University, where we have an immense amount of organizations both male and female that pride themselves on community service and helping others, don't seem to be wholeheartedly providing leadership to this issue,” Aristide said. “Clearly something needs to be done and it's starts here. “
“These young men that come to high school could all use some type of guidance. The Big Brother program isn’t just a way to gain a cool older friend but it helps these kids not only academically but socially. Its shows them what being a man is about and how to conduct themselves in a positive manner,” Patricia Trujillo, Guidance counselor at Coral Way K-8 Center, said.
To become a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend log on to bigbendmentoring.org and click the “Volunteer” link, call the office at (850) 386-6002 or just stop 565 East Tennessee Street right across from Leon High School.