Philadelphia, PA – October 5, 2011 — The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has awarded Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Youth Mentoring Grants, totaling $13.3 million for FY2011. The funding, which is aimed at programs that prevent juvenile delinquency, will allow the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring network to provide careful one-to-one mentor matching with ongoing mentoring support to 6,000 newly identified mentees in 40 communities across the country.
Through a partnership with the Department of Defense, approximately $3 million of the mentoring network’s funding is allocated to expand military mentoring programs, putting a new focus on providing one-to-one mentoring for children of deployed or military parents. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Tribal Youth National Mentoring Program will receive an additional $2 million to pair a minimum of 600 American Indian/Alaska Native youths with positive adult mentors in an effort to decrease gang activity, reduce alcohol and drug abuse, improve academic performance and parent/guardian relationships, and foster a renewed sense of tribal identification for participating youth.
“We believe these awards reinforce the OJJDP’s commitment to outcomes-based mentoring and the historic contribution Big Brothers Big Sisters has made and continues to make to delinquency prevention and intervention. We are delighted that Congress and the Administration continue to value our mentoring program’s pivotal place in youth development,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and CEO Karen J. Mathis. “We hold ourselves accountable for the proven youth outcomes that are unique to our mentoring network — educational achievement; avoidance of risky behaviors and delinquency; and improved self-confidence and higher aspirations.”
Through its Juvenile Justice Initiative, Big Brothers Big Sisters is focused on continuing to strengthen partnerships with local and national juvenile justice organizations and reaching more children who have had contact with or for other reasons may be at risk for having contact with the juvenile justice system. Youth served in Big Brothers Big Sisters long-term mentoring programs are primarily children in single-parent families, low-income households, homes where a parent has been incarcerated; and children of military personnel or those who face some other form of adversity. Longstanding research finds after they are enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters, where mentees, their parents/guardians, and volunteer mentors are provided ongoing support, children are more likely to beat the odds.
The grants are part of the almost $100 million in FY11 OJJDP funding allocated for programs focused on significantly improving the life chances and circumstances of America’s youth, families and communities.
“These grants are an opportunity for us to invest in the future of our young people. All of these worthwhile programs are committed to bringing out the best in our youth and providing them the opportunity to see bright futures as constructive citizens,” said Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and other related agencies. “We know that the young people across the country have so much to offer. It is our responsibility to seek that out and lead them on a path of responsibility, integrity and self-respect. These much needed funds will help to make that possible and I am honored to have helped to bring them here.”
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports them in one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course. The organization holds itself accountable for children in the program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as higher aspirations; greater confidence and better relationships; educational success; and avoidance of delinquency and other risky behaviors. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are in single-parent and low-income families or households where a parent is incarcerated. Headquartered in Philadelphia with a network of about 370 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves nearly 250,000 children. Learn how you can positively impact a child’s life, donate or volunteer at BigBrothersBigSisters.org.