The need for male role models has never been higher.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana helps connect children in need with a mentor to help guide and teach them when they need it most. In Johnson County, 87% of the kids waiting to be paired with a “Big” are boys, and many wait an average of around two years to be matched with a mentor.
Something had to be done to fill the void.
“The wait times in Johnson County are approximately double what they are in other counties we serve,” said Charles Stringer, volunteer outreach and engagement coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana. “While we have a need for volunteers across the board in Johnson County, there’s a gigantic need for men to become volunteers.”
Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana have teamed up to host an event designed to recruit more male Bigs. The “Men to Mentors” campaign callout, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30, invites community members interested in learning more about the program to attend.
People will be able to discover the benefits of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, while also hearing success stories from Bigs and the kids they’ve impacted.
Myers will also be presenting 100-day passes to the Greenwood Fieldhouse — all in an effort to generate excitement.
“Every child deserves the opportunity to have a mentor and benefit from this life-giving program,” Myers said. “I want to challenge the men of Johnson County to step up and accept the call to be a ‘Big’ so we can fill this need in our community.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national organization that pairs children in need with adult role models. They meet for about five hours each month, doing activities such as hiking, playing sports, fishing and going to the movies. Bigs help them with homework, or just hang out and talk with them.
Potential Bigs must be 19 years old or older, be able to meet with a child on average two to four times a month for a minimum of four hours per month and commit to the program for at least a year. Applicants must be willing to complete an interview process, which includes a background check.
Research has shown that mentoring helps children achieve greater success academically, overcome behavioral issues and develop the confidence and vision that will provide a better future. After 18 months in the program, children are 46% less likely to use illegal drugs, 27% less likely to begin using alcohol and 52% less likely to skip school, according to a study conducted by Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“At the core of it, it just matters to young people to have someone in their life who’s able to be there and to listen to them. It’s not about being this all-knowing person who can solve their life’s problems,” Stringer said. “It’s about someone who listens to them and cares what they think and invests in them; that has a huge impact.”
The Men to Mentors event grew out of a conversation between Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana leadership and Myers. With the opening of the Greenwood Fieldhouse, the city had a variety of activities to offer — perfect for Bigs and Littles looking to shoot hoops, hit a few balls in the batting cages or try out the golf simulator.
As a way to address the need for volunteers in Johnson County, Myers offered to host a callout event at the fieldhouse.
“That conversation led to a broader conversation about how the mayor could use his platform to advocate for that need. So he put together this press conference to make sure the mayor’s voice is heard about the need,” Stringer said.
At the event, people will be able to discover the benefits of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, while also hearing success stories from Bigs and the kids they’ve impacted.
IF YOU GO
Men to Mentors event
What: A callout for volunteers, particularly men, to be mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana. The event is co-hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters and Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers.
When: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30
Where: Greenwood Fieldhouse, 411 S Madison Ave, Greenwood
The event is free and open to anyone interested in learning about Big Brothers Big Sisters.