National Mentoring Month 2020
As a new year and decade begin, it’s time. Time to make an impact like never before. Time to help kids in our community achieve their biggest possible futures. And time to help children who are still without mentors to call their own.
Every January Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas takes the time to celebrate National Mentoring Month and to recognize the volunteers (Bigs) who are actively working to positively impact children’s lives in our community. In 2019 our Bigs contributed over 55,000 hours of volunteer service to our Littles. “We want to extend a huge thank you to all of our amazing volunteers,” said Brent Fields, BBBS CEO. “It’s their week-to-week commitment to their Littles that helps our kids have greater opportunities in life. Their involvement is central to our mission and we couldn’t do what we do without them.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters exists to help young people achieve lasting success in life. We do this by matching children ages 6 and older with caring adult mentors who provide support and encouragement to each child.
Mentors don’t have to be perfect. They just need to be there for a child. Several times a month. Doing things they already enjoy. Like taking a walk, going out to eat, or watching a game. It’s about spending time together.
“Our proven model yields BIG results. Kids enrolled in our program do better in school, get along better with friends and family, and are more likely to steer clear of drugs and alcohol,” said Joe Strychalski, VP of Programs for BBBS. “The beginning of a new year is the right time to remind people of the power of mentoring and its positive impact on the community.”
January is also a great time to remind the community that we need more Bigs – volunteers. Especially, bilingual men and men of color. “We have a great need for more male volunteers,” said Joe. “Over 75% of the kids who are currently waiting for mentors are boys, and we need more men to match them with. Male mentors are essential to helping boys achieve a positive sense of their own strengths and identities.”
And, as powerful as mentoring is for kids, it makes an enormous impact on mentors as well.
“When I was considering signing up for Big Brothers Big Sisters, I was looking for a volunteer opportunity that was different than a board meeting, an organizational management meeting or even just a one-off afternoon,” said Big Brother Scott. “I like being part of BBBS because of the long-term relationship I’ve been able to build and grow with my Little Brother. In addition to the impact I’ve had on him, I’ve also benefited from having a friend who I hope to have for a long time.”
“Seeing a kid recognize the potential hidden within themselves is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever witnessed,” said Big Brother Jeremy. “It’s like a light bulb that can only be illuminated by someone who genuinely cares about them and who is willing to spend the time and effort to help them turn it on. I can’t say enough about the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I think it truly changes the world, one relationship at a time.”
“You don’t have to be perfect to be a mentor. You just have to have the time and the will,” said Brandon, who has served as a Big Brother since 2002 for several different Littles. “These kids aren’t looking for someone perfect. They’re looking for someone who wants to spend time with them.”
“Being a mentor is the most rewarding thing you can do,” he continued. “For me, it’s been so exciting watching my Little Brothers grow up, become men, become dads. Then, they’ll call to talk about the difference I’ve made in their lives.”
In conjunction with National Mentoring Month, BBBS has just launched a new campaign aimed at recruiting additional volunteers. Signs and posters encouraging community members to become Big Brothers and Sisters will be featured on Capital Metro buses through the end of February.
In addition, we are always looking for opportunities to connect with local businesses and employees to spread the word about our work and to encourage others to become involved. We’d welcome the opportunity to talk to your organization about the positive power of mentoring.
A new year. A new decade. And new opportunities to make an even bigger difference.
Thank you to all of our current and former Big Brothers and Sisters. We appreciate your commitment to the children and families in our community. And we look forward to welcoming others who would like to help children develop their potential by becoming mentors as well.
Learn more about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister here