Marcus Allen, Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region discussed their programming for kids throughout the Delaware Valley and their expansions to their mission during his ten years on the job. He described their work, pairing caring adults with kids who need a steady influence, to listen, encourage and connect with them. ‘Bigs’ work with the ‘Little’ and their families to foster greater confidence and better relationships, help steer them from risky behavior to achieve their full potential, in school and later in life. He shared their training process and their support after a pairing, group outings and entertainment and sport opportunities. While Bigs are only required to stay one year, he told us of the many Big/Little friendships that lasted through graduation a, marriage and even retirement. Any child who need the service can apply, and now kids can stay in the program through college, but there is a serious shortage of Bigs. Mr. Allen is trying to recruit mire men of color and promote their business volunteer opportunities, local companies can work with kids for reading breaks during the day. Realizing that BBBS could never meet the demand for individual pairings, he described their new approach, partnering and sharing best practices with other organizations, grassroots and other groups who offer mentoring programs, getting more kids into services.
To learn more, to donate or volunteer go to independencebigs.org