Project utilizes mentoring to reduce crime and reconnect 1000 juveniles to school or work
Irving, TX., March 14, 2014 – Big Brothers Big Sisters of America announces its proven one-to-one youth mentoring services will be integrated into the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program to help juvenile offenders receive workplace development and get jobs. The $5 million grant will be shared by ten of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ 338 affiliated agencies in eight states and will serve 1,000 teens and young adults through Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Youth Workforce Opportunity Initiative (YWOI).
This unique program will deploy a set of innovative and evidence-based practices that are tailored to the local economic, social and cultural conditions of each participating community. The goal of the 39-month YWOI project is to help the program’s participants graduate from a high school or earn an industry recognized certificate. The program will serve teens and young adults, ages 14 to 24, who live in high-crime/high-poverty areas. At least 90 percent of the participants will be juvenile offenders, up to 20 percent of whom may be currently serving time in detention and correction facilities.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters brings 110 years of mentoring expertise that results in measurable, positive youth outcomes,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters President and CEO Charles Pierson. “These results are rooted in the ability of our local affiliates across the country to develop and implement broad-based partnerships with government, criminal justice authorities, social and human services and the business sector to serve children in their communities who face adversity.”
To provide its one-to-one mentoring services under the special Department of Labor program, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America will collaborate with subject matter experts in workforce development, restorative justice and violence prevention: ICF International (ICF), the Virginia Center for Restorative Justice (VCRJ) and the University of Illinois-based Cure Violence (CV) program.
“ICF International is pleased and honored to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and its participating affiliates in the implementation of YWOI,” said Brent Orrell, Principal at ICF. “We look forward to sharing our knowledge of the WIA system and our knowledge of how to integrate that system with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters’ organizations. We believe in the power of mentoring to improve outcomes for court-involved youth as they pursue their second chance.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies participating in YWOI are:
• Baltimore, Maryland (BBBS of the Greater Chesapeake)
• Charleston, West Virginia (BBBS of South Central West Virginia)
• Detroit, Michigan (BBBS of Metropolitan Detroit)
• Flint, Michigan (BBBS of Greater Flint)
• Frederick County, Maryland (BBBS of Frederick County)
• Gainesville, Florida (BBBS of Mid-Florida)
• Grand Island, Nebraska (BBBS of Grand Island)
• Newark, New Jersey (BBBS of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties)
• San Antonio, Texas (BBBS of South Texas)
• Wichita, Topeka & Pittsburg, Kansas (Kansas BBBS)
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes such as educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships. 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 these one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course. The Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Survey substantiates that its mentoring programs have proven, positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for youth, areas linked to high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency and college or job readiness.
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity, often those of single parent or low-income households or families where a parent may be incarcerated or serving in the military, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 110 year history. With nearly 340 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves approximately 200,000 children, their families and the 200,000 volunteer mentors. The organization is engaged in a nationwide search to reunite with alumni mentors, mentees, donors, and family, staff and board members. Learn more at www.BigBrothersBigSisters.org.