This July, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of California (BBBSAC) is launching its first-ever statewide initiative centered on the recruitment of male volunteers to become Big Brothers. This inaugural campaign will be the first time all 17 California agencies have worked together to leverage their collective reach with the goal of significantly reducing the number of boys waiting for a Big Brother in California.
Across the state, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is experiencing a critical need for men to volunteer. There is an average of nearly 70 percent boys on the waiting list for mentors, and only 37 percent of new volunteers are men. Unfortunately, boys are waiting an average of 275 days before receiving a Big Brother.
Boys served by BBBS are primarily children of single parent, low-income homes; an incarcerated parent; or active duty military homes with a deployable parent. Due to complex circumstances, boys with single parents are faced with a statistical spike in their likelihood to turn to drugs, alcohol and violence in an effort to cope with increased stress in their lives. Parents recognize the proven benefits that come from having a caring role model in their sons’ lives, and many are reaching out for help.
The basic requirements for volunteering are:
• Over 18 years of age.
• Have a valid Social Security number with no criminal background.
• Be available to volunteer for at least one year.
Men and Spanish-speaking volunteers are in high demand.
If someone can’t volunteer, we ask them to consider donating to help sponsor a waiting boy who will be carefully matched with a screened volunteer and receive ongoing support and access to events.
Big Brothers Big Sisters programs are based on a data-proven model focused on creating and sustaining strong and long mentoring matches. Longstanding research by Public Private Ventures, a national nonprofit research and program development organization, found that after 18 months of spending time with their “Bigs,” the Little Brothers and Little Sisters, compared to children not in the program, are 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol, 52 percent less likely to skip school, 37 percent less likely to skip a class and 33 percent less likely to hit someone.
For more information, contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe at 530-265-2059.