The Issue: Children with Limited Adult Role Models
Life can be difficult for children who live in single-parent households, are experiencing poverty, or have a parent who is incarcerated. They will be faced with a number of risks that can seriously mar their chances for future success, and despite parents’ best intentions, they may not always have a strong mentor around to help them counteract negative influences.
The Campaign: Matching Youth with a Big Brother or Sister
If 50 people donate $10, then Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties (BBBSMMC) can enroll and match one child with a volunteer Big Brother or Sister. Each additional $500 raised will match another mentor and mentee. BBBSMMC pairs youth aged 6–14 with a prescreened adult mentor who is in a stable situation and can provide positive guidance. The mentor and mentee spend two to four hours a month together doing free or low-cost activities such as hiking in a park or baking a cake. Children who have been engaging with their mentors often gain increased self-confidence and improved decision-making skills.
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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties
In 1976, Curtis Colby befriended a boy named Joey, whose father had died. Curtis spent time mentoring him as a volunteer and discovered Joey's younger brother also was in need of a strong male role model. This connection was the original impetus for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties, which connects youth with responsible and positive adult mentors through community- and school-based programs to help change their lives for the better. Youth aged 6–14 who have one-on-one relationships with mentors have reported increased self-esteem, an improved ability to express their feelings, and better attitudes toward school.