“Bigs in Blue” Grants Awarded in 13 Cities
Tampa, Florida (March 16, 2017) — Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the nation’s oldest one-to-one youth mentoring organization, today awarded 13 grants totaling $560,000 in support of its “Bigs in Blue” program. This nationwide initiative recruits local law enforcement officers to serve as mentors to youth in their local communities.
“The impact of the Bigs in Blue program in cities across the United States has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Pam Iorio, BBBSA President & CEO. “Communities are building bridges between law enforcement and youth based on trust and understanding. We are so encouraged by the response to the Bigs in Blue program nationwide.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates partnered with law enforcement agencies located in Austin; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Los Angeles; Louisville; New York City; Omaha; Orlando; Philadelphia; Tampa; Roanoke, Virginia; and Columbia, South Carolina.
The grants will be used to start or expand the Bigs in Blue program, including recruiting and training law enforcement officers and matching them to youth in need of a mentor. Seven of the cities will receive grants funded by the first corporate sponsor of Bigs in Blue, WellCare, which is donating $250,000 each year for three years to support the program.
The Dallas community has been extraordinarily generous in its support of Bigs in Blue. The Crystal Charity Ball raised $500,000 for Bigs in Blue in Dallas, and the United Way pledged $50,000.
“The Dallas Police Department is proud to be participating in the Bigs in Blue program,” said Dallas Assistant Police Chief Paul Stokes. “This program gives our officers the opportunity to make an impact in the communities they serve and really show these children that the police are there to support them. Community engagement and youth outreach programs are essential to building and maintaining strong relationships with our community and we are so thankful to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for making this mentoring initiative possible.”
Law enforcement officials who volunteer to serve as a Big Brother or Sister will be vetted, trained, matched and monitored just as any other mentor in the network. Big Brothers Big Sisters encourages parents to be partners throughout the match process and the mentoring relationship, to foster the best outcomes for the youth.
BBBSA is 25 percent toward achieving its goal of raising $5 million to support the Bigs in Blue programs. Funds raised will expand Bigs in Blue to 110 Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates across the country.
To learn more, visit BigsinBlue.org
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong, enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Big Brothers Big Sisters ensures that the children in its program achieve measurable outcomes, including educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 113-year history. With over 300 affiliates across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters has served more than 2 million children (“Littles”) in the past 10 years. Learn more at www.bbbs.org.