Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency marks National Mentoring Month with a goal to match all of the kids on their waiting list

This January marks the 15th annual National Mentoring Month, and Shelby and Darke County’s Big Brothers Big Sisters is participating in this campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults by setting the goal to match all of the children on their waiting list with a Big.

“If everyone could take a moment and think back to who they considered to be that positive role model when they were growing up, and in turn be that role model for someone in the community, what a huge impact we could make on the future” said Jennifer Bruns, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County. “Our slogan for this month says it all. ‘It all starts with a little.’”

Research has shown that when matched through a quality mentoring program, mentors can play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible decisions, stay focused and engaged in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior like skipping school, drug use and other negative activities.

For example, in a recent national report called The Mentoring Effect, young people who were at-risk for not completing high school but who had a mentor were 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. They were also:

  • 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
  • More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

This same report found that one in three young people in our country will grow up without a mentor. Today, in our community there are 23 kids who are on our waiting list for Bigs for Shelby and Darke County combined, and we are always getting referrals for kids who would benefit from our program.

As we focus on engaging more community members in volunteering as mentors, we will share a simple message: Mentor IN REAL LIFE. It all starts with a little. Mentoring relationships are basic human connections that let a young person know that they matter, and mentors frequently report back that their relationships make them feel like someone is there to help them make the right choices in life.

In addition to our goal of matching all of the littles on the waiting list, we are saying thank you to our current “Bigs” in a Volunteer Appreciation Banquet at the end of January.

Other important dates:

  • January 14, 2016: “I Am a Mentor Day,” when volunteers across our community and the country will share their stories about being a mentor on social media using #MentorIRL.
  • January 18, 2016: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, when our nation will shine a spotlight on volunteerism and inspire people seeking service opportunities to learn more about mentoring.
  • January 21, 2016: “Thank Your Mentor Day,” when we encourage anyone who has had a mentor to say thank you by sending a note, a card or sharing a story on social media using #MentorIRL.

National Mentoring Month is led by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with support from the Highland Street Foundation. Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the president and the United States Congress. Other prominent individuals who have participated in the campaign include: Maya Angelou, former President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Quincy Jones, Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Russell and Usher. To learn more about the being a Big in our program, visit Big Brothers Big Sisters online at . If you would like further information, you can also call 937-492-7611 or email us at

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