DALLAS, TX (January 11, 2011) –During the month of January – National Mentoring Month – Jewel and Ty Murray are helping Big Brothers Big Sisters launch Start Something™, a national initiative inviting all adults – not just volunteers — to support quality mentoring to help children who face adversity beat the odds.
The nation’s mentoring leader, Big Brothers Big Sisters holds itself accountable for and is able to measure specific youth outcomes — educational achievement, avoidance of risky behaviors (especially juvenile delinquency), higher self-esteem, confidence and ability to relate to others. Start Something challenges Americans to visit BigBrothersBigSisters.org to get involved by donating, sharing mentoring success stories or volunteering. Increased funding will allow Big Brothers Big Sisters to carefully make more mentoring matches and provide ongoing assistance for mentors, mentees and families to help sustain long successful relationships unique to its programs.
As one of the first to take the pledge, Jewel and Ty Murray have volunteered to serve as Texas State Honorary Chairs for Big Brothers Big Sisters. In this role, they will help build awareness for the worlds’ leading youth-mentoring organization and encourage everyone to Start Something in the life of a child. The pair recorded two Start Something public service announcements (please access via coordinates below*) that will begin appearing in January to help launch the campaign. Other elements of the campaign will include print advertising, outdoor advertising and public relations efforts through local media outlets. Big Brothers Big Sisters is also working with existing partners to launch Start Something rallies to encourage more participation from organizations already providing volunteer and financial support to the agency.
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides community- and school-based mentoring services to volunteers, kids and parents/guardians based on proven and constantly reviewed standards, structures and systems. Longstanding research by Public Private Ventures, widely quoted by mentoring advocates and programs, found that after 18 months of spending time with their Bigs, Little Brothers and Little Sisters, compared to those children not in our program, were:
• 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
• 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
• 52% less likely to skip school
• 37% less likely to skip a class
• 33% less likely to hit someone
“We know the problems – drop out rates, juvenile crime, teen pregnancy – the list of what happens when we do nothing goes on. Start Something is an easy way to become a part of a proven solution,” said Charles Pierson, CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star. “We are proud of Jewel and Ty and all Americans who take the Start Something pledge. When our kids improve in and out of school, the entire nation succeeds.”
Funding for Big Brothers Big Sisters’ programs provides careful mentor matching and ongoing support for volunteers, kids and parents/guardians, leading to enduring matches that yield strong results. Advocates, alumni mentors, mentees and families currently or formerly involved in the mentoring programs, as well as friends of Big Brothers Big Sisters can use their social networks to spread the word to their friends who would like to help. While all mentors are needed, the agency particularly needs minority male mentors, as African American and Hispanic boys disproportionately represent those waiting to be matched.
“We are honored to be a part of this campaign,” said Jewel and Ty Murray. “Start Something is a way for all of us to give that extra boost to help kids facing adversity improve in school and succeed in life.”
National Mentoring Month is spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a lead partner.
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. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are in single-parent and low-income families or households where a parent is incarcerated. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides a system of ongoing evaluation and support that is proven by independent studies to help families by improving the odds that “Littles” will perform better in school and avoid violence and illegal activities, and have stronger relationships with their parents and others. Headquartered in Philadelphia with a network of nearly 400 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.