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The Celebration Comes Just as Over 8,000 People Complete the Be There Certificate, a Free Online Course For Peer-to-Peer Mental Health Support

Toronto, Ontario (August 8, 2022) – Jack.org and Born This Way Foundation met in Toronto to celebrate the Be There Certificate’s positive impact on youth mental health since its launch in early March of this year. The meeting brought together staff and youth from both organizations, including a pledge from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to support the Be There Certificate and promotion of the certificate at Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Ball Summer Stadium tour stop in Toronto.

The Be There Certificate is a free, self-paced, interactive online mental health course designed to increase mental health literacy and provide youth with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to safely support anyone who may be struggling with their mental health. Since its launch, over 8,000 people have completed the Be There Certificate, available globally in English, French, and Spanish. 

Jack.org, a Canadian charity supporting education and action for youth mental health, and Born This Way Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting youth mental health and working with young people to build a kinder, braver world, collaborated to create the Be There Certificate. The goal of the Be There Certificate is to connect young people with a simple, actionable framework, teaching them how to recognize when someone might be struggling, understand their role in supporting that person, and learn how to connect that person to the help they need and deserve. 

Young people want to be there for their own and their peers’ mental health. Through the Be There Certificate, we have an opportunity to connect young people with free, accessible mental health resources and the tools to support themselves and each other,” said Cynthia Germanotta, Co-Founder and President of Born This Way Foundation. “The Be There Certificate provides a unique opportunity to encourage comprehensive, inclusive, and kind mental health support.”

As an example of the Be There Certificate’s ongoing success, the preeminent youth mentorship organizations, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, are partnering with Jack.org and Born This Way Foundation to introduce the Be There Certificate to more than 10,000 people throughout their networks and are pledging their local agencies to complete the certificate. 

“Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada proudly supports the Be There Certificate. We know that young people need access to a web of supportive individuals who are prepared and ready to support their unique needs, like facing mental health adversities. That’s why we commit to challenging our Big Brothers Big Sisters colleagues across Canada to earn their Be There Certificate,” said W. Matthew Chater, President and CEO of Brothers Big Sisters of Canada.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is the leading organization championing mentorship experiences for young people across the country and the right leader to help provide youth with the relationship supports to address the mental health crisis in our nation,” said Julie Novak, Chief Youth Protection Officer, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “Our commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) is an integral part of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ values and mission. We strive to empower the full potential that is within all of us by ensuring that all voices and perspectives are heard, honored and supported. We are proud to partner with Jack.org and Born This Way Foundation to bring the Be There Certificate program to our network.”

Throughout their collaboration, Jack.org and Born This Way Foundation have fostered a close working relationship with one goal: to uplift youth and connect them to the help they need. Following a survey, those who have taken the course have said that the Be There Certificate “was an easy-to-use, straightforward and interactive way to further strengthen the ways I can be there for my loved ones” and 98% of learners feel better able to safely support someone who is struggling with their mental health. 

“We are thrilled to see the growing momentum around the Be There Certificate. Five short months from launch and already thousands of people are better equipped to support their young peers, friends, and loved ones experiencing mental health struggles. We’re proud to be working with these outstanding partners to rapidly spread awareness and uptake of this freely accessible and engaging resource across Canada, the US, and beyond,” said Shane Green, VP Programs at Jack.org.

To learn how to pledge with your organization, contact bethere@jack.org.


To learn more about the Be There Certificate, visit BeThereCertificate.org.
The Be There Certificate is funded in part by RBC Future Launch and other generous partners who supported the development of the Be There program through their partnership with Jack.org.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the preeminent one-to-one youth mentoring organization in the United States, has named Travis Gibson as its Chief Technology Officer. In this role, Gibson will lead the long-term strategic planning and implementation of information technology investments for BBBSA and its network of over 230 agencies. In addition, his leadership will establish and oversee enterprise network architecture to ensure system interoperability and information sharing, maintaining information security and privacy across the organization’s network.

Gibson brings expertise as a senior technology leader and corporate strategist from a diverse range of technologies across multiple industry settings. He has served as the Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer advisor for organizations including LVMH, DeBeers Diamond Jeweler’s, Cox Automotive, Michael Kors, Council of School Supervisors (NYC), Vera Wang, and others. During his early career as an IT engineer, he worked for Amazon, Choice Hotels International, and a large medical network in Arizona.

“I am thrilled to join the organization at such a pivotal time and honored to lead the highly talented IT team here at BBBSA,” said Gibson. “The vision and opportunity to advance our systems for the entire Big Brothers Big Sisters network will help deliver on our mission today and in the future.”
Prior to joining BBBSA, Travis was the Head of Cybersecurity, Infrastructure and IT Operations for Make-A-Wish America, with responsibility for developing and maintaining the enterprise cybersecurity program, the enterprise IT infrastructure, application support, and IT operations for over 10,000 employees and volunteers in the U.S. and territories.

“The foundation of our work is human connection and today’s technology developments offer the opportunity to transform relationships by empowering every single constituency of our network—donors, partners, volunteers, parents, staff, boards and young people,” said Artis Stevens, president and CEO, BBBSA. “I am looking forward to collaborating with Travis on our digital transformation across the organization and ensure agencies are able to create more accessible and innovative ways to support life-changing mentoring experiences for our Bigs and Littles.”

Gibson will remain based in Arizona with his wife and three children. Additionally, Gibson serves as the IT and Cybersecurity Advisor of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce playing a key role in identifying high school curriculum to support youth career development in technology. He is also a member of the Information Systems and Control Association and holds several industry professional certifications in Technology, Cybersecurity and Business.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the country’s preeminent leader in one-to-one youth mentoring, has appointed Suzy DePrizio, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Centene Corporation, as its newest board member. In addition, Michael Carrel, president and CEO of AtriCure, is named the new national board chair and Tony Coles, president of the Black Information Network, division president of the iHeartMedia Markets Group, is named board vice chair for the organization.

DePrizio brings a powerhouse of marketing experience to the board. In her role at Centene, a diversified healthcare enterprise serving more than 26 million under-insured and uninsured people across the country, DePrizio leads brand development, marketing strategy, advertising, and communications.

“Suzy not only brings a wealth of expertise to our board, but also passion for our mission,” said Artis Stevens, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “Her diverse background in marketing, organizational leadership and nearly a decade of military service will further support the organization’s long-standing mission to empower all young people with a mentor whose impact lasts a lifetime.”

DePrizio joins current BBBSA Board members, including executives from Fortune 500 companies.

“It’s an honor to join the BBBSA board at such a crucial time for our nation’s youth,” said DePrizio. “Together with the board and tremendous leadership at BBBSA, I look forward to creating even greater access to powerful mentorship experiences that can help set our youth on the path to lifelong success.”

Along with DePrizio’s announcement, Michael Carrel has been appointed BBBSA’s national board chair and Tony Coles as BBBSA’s national board vice chair.

Having been involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters for over 30 years, Carrel has a deep commitment to BBBSA serving on the national board for the past year. Carrel previously served as a Big Brother in the Chicago area and continued his work in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area as a board member for the local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency.

In addition, Coles brings expertise in media and a passion for mentorship, especially in reaching communities of color, to BBBSA to increase equity and make a lasting impact on the lives of young people. In his role as Division President of Metro Markets for iHeartMedia, he oversees the complete profitability for 21 iHeartMedia markets across the U.S. In 2020, he was instrumental in the launch of BIN, the first and only audio network that provides 24/7 news and objective information with a full focus on the Black community and as president, leads all operations for the Network.

“I’m incredibly inspired by the important work of Big Brothers Big Sisters and its 230 member agencies around the country,” said Carrel. “The impact these groups and individuals have on the youth of America is profound, and I’m humbled and excited to help represent and advocate for the needs of our agencies, mentors, and the broader community as Chair.”

“I am honored to work with Michael and Tony as they lead us into the next chapter of our work,” said Artis Stevens, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “Both leaders’ exceptional commitment to Big Brothers Big Sisters will continue to advance our mission to create greater equity and access to mentorship experiences for all young people across the nation.”

Bigs and Littles of The Year Serve as Ambassadors to Increase Awareness of the Need for More Volunteer Mentors

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the preeminent one-to-one youth mentoring organization in the United States, announced the Bigs and Littles of the Year at the 2022 Bigger Together celebration, hosted by Multi-Platinum Recording Artist and Actress Jordin Sparks. The awardees consisted of two volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and two youth (“Littles”) who were selected out of the 400,000 Bigs, Littles and families participating in the program each year.

The award ceremony was held in Indianapolis, Indiana during Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s annual “Bigger Together” National Conference, supported by Comcast/NBCUniversal and Centene.

“It is truly an honor to celebrate the life-changing connections and growth that we see with our Bigs and Littles as they’ve developed meaningful relationships. We’re thrilled to honor Jerome and Jaylen, and Kathy and Lucian as our Bigs and Littles of the Year,” says Artis Stevens, president and CEO, BBBSA. “Both matches showcase the true power of mentorship and connection – serving as examples of the extraordinary bonds made every day through Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

Each year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America honors two outstanding matches to serve as the nationally recognized representatives of Big Brothers Big Sisters. These matches are nominated by their local agency to illustrate how the mentoring relationship helps Littles achieve their biggest possible futures and also makes a long-lasting impact on the Big.

Big Jerome and Little Jaylen

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles (BBBSLA)

“My Big Brother Jerome has shown me how to conduct myself in public, by being an example and trying new things. I also believe I taught him to take chances on things that he would not normally do, like watching a scary movie or riding a rollercoaster.”

Big Brother Jerome and Little Jaylen first matched in September 2016, with Jerome’s goal of providing his own great experiences to help guide a young man’s path to success. With a common interest of sports, Jerome bought every sports ball he could find in an effort to make Jaylen feel comfortable for their first outing at a park. From that outing, their relationship has grown, and they have experienced amazing moments together including the Superbowl LVI in February 2022.

Throughout Jerome and Jaylen’s experience together, they both have seen each other grow in many ways. Jerome realized through this mentorship that he wanted to do much more with the organization and joined the BBBSLA Junior Board. As the current Junior Board Co-Chair, he helps build a community amongst the Bigs, enrich the match experience, and increase overall awareness of the mentoring program through the Los Angeles County. In addition to his time on the board, Jerome serves on the BBBSLA Fund Development Committee, regularly volunteers to provide meals to the homeless and helps provide resources for financial literacy to his network – setting a great example for Jaylen.

Jaylen is aware of all of the hard work that Jerome does for his community and sees the impact that he makes for BBBSLA. Jaylen is proud of all the work that his Big Brother does and is grateful for all of the experiences they have had over the past six years. He wants to let those who are entering the mentorship program to remember the following: “Embrace every experience that you and your Big may have together. Listen and learn by example.”

Big Kathy and Little Lucian

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlantic & Cape May Counties

Kathy still is the most stable thing I have in my life thus far, and has been for the past six years.”

Looking back on the past couple of years, Lucian remembers that 2016 was one of the hardest years of his life, but Big Sister Kathy was always there to help support him as much as possible.

Throughout the last two years, Lucian struggled with identity and mental health throughout the pandemic. By having such a strong relationship, Lucian felt comfortable enough to share with Kathy at one of their outings that he no longer identified as a girl and explained how he has been feeling internally. Lucian not only has grown and learned from Kathy, but he has taught her how to be your most authentic self. “Lucian taught me that being honest with yourself was one of the most valuable things you could do. In two short hours, he taught me how to “think outside of the box”.”

Lucian is grateful for Kathy for showing nothing but love and care throughout their relationship and for inviting him into her family as if he was her own. His piece of advice to all Bigs in the program to remember to listen: “The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to simply listen to them. Learn about their interests and engage with them. You can be completely clueless about what they’re talking about but just knowing that someone is listening to them and trying to understand what is being said is so reassuring.”

Former Bigs and Littles recognized for their commitment and impact made through mentorship

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the preeminent one-to-one youth mentoring organization in the United States, announced the first class of inductees to its inaugural Alumni Hall of Fame, honoring former Bigs and Littles that have championed the power of mentorship throughout the organization’s 116-year history. BBBSA recognizes these leaders whose dedication and achievements have significantly furthered its mission of inspiring young people’s passions and empowering them to achieve success in life and career.

The induction ceremony was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, during Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s annual ‘Bigger Together’ National Conference, supported by Comcast/NBCUniversal and Centene. Nearly 3,000+ in-person and virtual attendees from across the country joined host, Kate Snow, former Big and current NBC Nightly News Sunday Anchor and NBC News Senior National Correspondent, to honor the inductees as they shared inspiring stories about the role we all play in empowering young people and encouraging others to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Featuring changemakers and leading executives in business, entertainment, politics, real estate and more, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Alumni Hall of Fame’s goal is to honor those whose mentorship impact has left a legacy across the organization and has seen firsthand the life-long impact that these relationships can have on one’s life.

The inaugural members of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Alumni Hall of Fame are (in alphabetical order):

  • Emily Chen Carrera, Former Big and current BBBSA Board Member, Private Wealth Real Estate Specialist & Chief of Research, Olshan Realty, Inc.
  • Tory Green, Former Little and current Special Agent, U.S. Secret Service
  • Kate Snow, Former Big and current NBC Nightly News Sunday Anchor and NBC News Senior National Correspondent
  • Steve Soboroff, Former Big, Businessman and Los Angeles Police Commissioner
  • Mark Tillman, Former 3X Big and past General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
  • The Honorable Robert Wilkins, Former Little and current United States Circuit Judge
  • Don Wolf, Former Big and former president of BBBSA’s national board, President Emeritus, Do it Best Corp. (posthumous)

“We are honored to celebrate these former Bigs and Littles as the first class of inductees into our Alumni Hall of Fame and recognize their personal journeys as they look back on their mentorship experiences and reflect on how it made an impact on where they are today,” says Artis Stevens, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “Among the estimated 20 million alumni Bigs and Littles, these individuals know firsthand the life-long impact that mentorship can have on one’s life and they are true champions of our vision to empower every child with a plan for their future, and a mentor whose impact can last a lifetime.”

The Un-carrier and the nation’s largest youth mentoring organization are collaborating to bridge the schoolwork gap by bringing critical connectivity to underserved students nationwide

Today, T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) announced a new partnership that makes access to T-Mobile’s Project 10Million, the Un-carrier’s $10.7 billion initiative focused on providing students free internet connectivity, even easier.

Through the collaboration, the more than one hundred thousand students who are in Big Brothers Big Sisters’ expansive network of 230 agencies across 5,000 communities will be able to learn about Project 10Million, and eligible households will now be able to more easily register for the program’s free internet and a mobile hotspot that provides 100GB of data per year for five years. Providing this access to students and their families comes at a critical moment in time: Pew Research Center currently reports that 59% of U.S. parents with lower incomes say their children face digital schoolwork obstacles and often work on public Wi-Fi because they do not have reliable internet at home.

“T-Mobile and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America are teaming up to extend Project 10Million’s reach by meeting students and families where they are, through an organization and program they know and trust, ultimately giving them easier access to the tools they need to focus on their education rather than searching for reliable Wi-Fi,” said Janice V. Kapner, chief communications officer for T-Mobile. “Connectivity is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ for students to learn and grow — it’s a necessity. And now, they will get a mobile hotspot and enough data to equal 5,000 hours of internet research or 320 hours of online learning into the hands of students in time for the upcoming school year.”

“Young people have faced the realities of inequitable access to internet for far too long. Our community of mentors and volunteers have been committed to providing the support, resources and time needed to keep all kids on a path to academic success,” said Deborah Barge, chief development officer, BBBSA. “We know there is power in partnership and community, that is why we are so pleased to partner with T-Mobile to provide the critical access to the connectivity necessary to empower young people and their potential.”

Starting June 21, parents and guardians of eligible K through 12 grade students will find the tools to enroll in Project 10Million at www.t-mobilecom/bbbs or in-person through their Big Brothers Big Sisters match support specialist. School administrators and educators can learn more about Project 10Million and apply for their district at www.t-mobile.com/p10m

The expanded reach and capacity of T-Mobile’s network plays a crucial role in the Un-carrier’s ability to make reliable connectivity truly accessible to students across the U.S. This includes those in urban centers, as well as underserved areas like rural America, where 14.5 million people do not have access to high-speed broadband internet according to the FCC, which underscores the need for accessible internet options like mobile hotspots.

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About T-Mobile 

T-Mobile U.S. Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) is America’s supercharged Un-carrier, delivering an advanced 4G LTE and transformative nationwide 5G network that will offer reliable connectivity for all. T-Mobile’s customers benefit from its unmatched combination of value and quality, unwavering obsession with offering them the best possible service experience and undisputable drive for disruption that creates competition and innovation in wireless and beyond. Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile. For more information please visit: https://www.t-mobile.com

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the preeminent one-to-one youth mentoring organization in the United States, has announced two senior leaders on its executive team, naming Julie Novak as Chief Youth Protection Officer and Tawanna Myers as Chief People & Culture Officer.

For 18 years, Novak has successfully led youth protection, child safety and trauma-informed strategies with Big Brothers Big Sisters professionals, Bigs, Littles, and their families. Her leadership in providing training and consultation on child protection and risk management has reached more than 5,000 communities across all 50 states. As Chief Youth Protection Officer, Novak will lead the long-term planning and advancement of effective child protection strategies with an emphasis on promoting local program quality and new nationwide initiatives focused on youth well-being, in fulfillment of the National Office’s responsibility to support Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies.

As Big Brothers Big Sisters’ leading expert and spokesperson on child safety & youth protection, Novak has also served in an advisory capacity to international, national, statewide and local organizations, including Johns Hopkins Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, the CDC, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and then-Vice President Biden’s Gun Violence Task Force. She is a Board Member of the U.S. Center for SafeSport since its inception in January 2016. She was appointed to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Board of Directors Program Advisory Council in 2019.  In 2018 she led the National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation as President.

In addition to Novak’s promotion, BBBSA announced Tawanna Myers as Chief People & Culture Officer. Myers joined the organization in January to develop and lead human resources strategy, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) and culture initiatives across the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America employee life cycle, including talent acquisition, onboarding, employee engagement, employee relations, talent development, executive coaching, as well as change management and organizational culture. She brings over 18 years of expertise across HR, DEI, and change management, most recently as VP, Talent Management, DEI for Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national office.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Norfolk State University and received certifications from Cornell University for Diversity & Inclusion, the former American Institute for Advancing Diversity’s Diversity Leadership Academy under Dr. Roosevelt Thomas, Prosci© as a Certified Change Practitioner, Korn Ferry© in Leadership Architect Global Competency Framework, and the Human Capital Institute© as a Talent Acquisition Strategist. Myers is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

“Both Julie and Tawanna bring a level of expertise and dedication to our mission that we are honored to call our own. Their leadership will continue to take us even further with our impact in communities and with the young people we serve,” said Artis Stevens, president and CEO, BBBSA. “I am excited to collaborate with both leaders on how we best engage and support our organization and build on the resources and support for our entire network and counterparts in the youth development sector.”  


Today we announced our aim to transform mentorship in communities across the country ignited by an unprecedented gift of $122.6 million – read full release below.  You can join us in our mission to ensure every young person has access to a powerful mentoring experience by becoming a Big, making a personal gift, or joining our movement!


The extraordinary gift demonstrates the importance of investing in mentorship to build and strengthen communities and society as a whole.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the preeminent leader in one-to-one youth mentoring in the United States, announced today its aim to transform mentorship in communities across the country with an unprecedented gift of $122.6 million. The gift, from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, awarded to BBBSA and 38 local agencies, supports the organization in furthering its mission to ensure every young person has access to powerful mentoring experiences that empower them for success in school, life and career.

Today, nearly 11 million kids live in poverty and more than 13 million young people experience emotional, behavioral, or developmental conditions like depression. And during the height of the pandemic, 20 percent of youth served by Big Brothers Big Sisters lost contact with an important adult in their lives.

Scott’s gift will support in expanding the organization’s ability to match more young people with caring, adult mentors –allowing for more staff, resources, and training– and assist BBBSA in closing the gap on the estimated one in three youth who lack a positive, sustained mentor in their lives.

“For over 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has delivered on our powerful mission – to inspire youth equity and empower kids to reach their full potential with a caring mentor by their side,” said Artis Stevens, president and CEO, BBBSA. “We are incredibly grateful and humbled by MacKenzie’s generosity and acknowledgement of the incredible work of our passionate professionals and volunteers who are unwavering in their commitment to create meaningful outcomes for young people today and for generations to come.”

This unprecedented investment is the largest donation from a single individual in the organization’s history and serves as a catalyst to create more innovative mentoring solutions for all kids from all backgrounds. In supporting BBBSA’s vision to expand its mentoring model, the organization aims to create greater access to mentoring experiences by building stronger alliances with other non-profits, educational and civic organizations, delivering mentoring strategies that account for the uniqueness and differences of kids today, and attracting families and volunteers in turnkey ways that meet them where they are in life.

“Mentoring is an integral part of the solution in preparing youth for life and career, building positive relationships and essential skills for life changing outcomes including post-secondary readiness, social emotional learning, and a stronger sense of belonging and inclusion,” said Stevens. “We know that no one person, organization or gift can do this work alone, but one person—no matter their background—can make an incredible difference through positive and inspired action. MacKenzie’s investment and belief in Big Brothers Big Sisters shows this on a large-scale and we are confident that her gift will compel more people to help grow the village of mentors, volunteers, and donors needed to positively impact young people’s lives today and well into the future.”

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit www.bbbs.org.

New program trains and mentors youth athletic coaches and video game enthusiasts to reach youth

with life saving mental health support

Today, Harry’s announced the winner of its Open Minds Initiative: a search for the next great idea to change the state of mental health in the U.S. Through Harry’s partnership and the donation of $5M the winner will bring their idea to life over the next three years. After months of reviewing game-changing ideas and applications, Harry’s has selected Team: Changing Minds as the winner of the Open Minds Initiative. 

In partnership with Futures Without Violence, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and founding investor Harry’s, Team: Changing Minds will launch a groundbreaking national network of mental health responders dedicated to helping teens and young men recognize signs of early mental health challenges and connect them to resources for support. The program will leverage the wide appeal of video games and youth sports to train over 200,000 youth and adult mental health responders who are active in these and other popular youth activities, with the goal of reaching 1 million people in its first 3 years.

“We are thrilled to come together with our partners Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing to launch Team: Changing Minds later this year,” said Brian O’Connor of Futures Without Violence. “With deep gratitude to Harry’s, we’ll be able to enlist thousands of youth coaches, mentors, and other adults and peer influencers to bring life-saving mental health support to boys, particularly young men of color, now at a time when it’s needed most.” 

While half of all chronic mental health challenges begin by age 14, it takes over ten years on average until most people access help, with Black, Indigenous and other young men of color least likely to access support. By increasing the number of young men who connect to support earlier in their life trajectories, Team: Changing Minds offers promise to decrease suicides in the U.S. among men, who currently make up 79% of deaths from suicide.”

“Of all demographic groups, young men are the least likely to get mental health support. The consequences are devastating and we, at Harry’s, understand that there is so much more work to be done in the space,” said Harry’s co-founder and co-CEO Jeff Raider, “We are incredibly grateful to partner with Team: Changing Minds to change the way we view mental health as a society and provide the resources young men need to seek help so that we can make an impact.”

Harry’s Open Minds Initiative builds on the company’s longstanding commitment to promoting better mental health care for men. Since the men’s care brand launched in 2013, Harry’s has set aside 1% of sales to its social mission. In 2019, Harry’s shifted its social mission focus to providing men with access to better mental healthcare, working with incredible organizations that have made a big impact in the mental health space, particularly for young men, LGBTQ folks, Veterans and Black communities. To date, the brand has donated more than $8M and helped over 900,000 men get the care they need. 

About Harry’s

We founded Harry’s because buying shaving supplies was a frustrating experience, and the products themselves were overpriced and over-designed. We saw an opportunity to create a brand that encourages guys to rethink their routines and since taking on shaving, have begun to address the same challenge across other categories in men’s care, including body and hair.

At Harry’s, we aim to always put our customers first, which means being readily available however and wherever they want to shop – whether that’s Harrys.com or one of our retail partners – and giving to organizations that promote better mental health care for men. We set aside 1% of our sales to donate to charitable organizations that share our ambition to bring quality mental health care to men everywhere. Our goal is to provide 1.5 million men with mental health care access by 2024.

We built Harry’s as a brand for guys who want to carve out their own path. At the heart of our mission is a belief in creating things people like more. For more information on Harry’s, please visit https://www.harrys.com/en/us

About Team: Changing Minds

Team: Changing Minds is a collaboration between Futures Without Violence, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and National Council for Mental Wellbeing. These national organizations have come together because big challenges aren’t solved alone.

With a founding investment from Harry’s, Inc., Team: Changing Minds will launch later this year (in 2022), and will be the first of its kind national network of mental health responders embedded in the activities kids love – and specializing in reaching young people, male-identified youth, and especially young men and boys of color.

The program is designed to help young people recognize the signs of mental health challenges and connect to supports earlier in their lives, before those challenges potentially become crises in adulthood. Watch the Team: Changings Minds video here.

Learn more about the Founding Partners:  FuturesWithoutViolence.org, BBBS.org, TheNationalCouncil.org

Media Contacts

Shenny Barboza 

harrys@derris.com 

714-276-4168

Harry’s 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the country’s preeminent leader in one-to-one youth mentoring, has appointed Ad Council Chief Equity Officer Elise James-DeCruise, and National Corn Growers Association Chief Executive Officer Jon Doggett to its Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Council.

James-DeCruise is an award-winning Learning & Development professional and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion practitioner with over 20 years of global experience in the marketing, strategy, design and delivery of programs and experiences for clients, partners and industry professionals within the workforce, workplace and marketplace and community. As Chief Equity Officer of the Ad Council, America’s leader in using the power of communications to drive social change, James-DeCruise oversees the organization’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion – ultimately informing every aspect of the Ad Council’s mission, workplace culture and public-facing communications.

Doggett brings a wealth of public policy experience to the Council. Prior to becoming CEO of the National Corn Growers Association in 2018, Doggett served as the organization’s executive vice president. Prior to that, he served as vice president of public policy, where he managed the organization’s Washington, DC office and led its public policy efforts from 2002 to 2014.

“I am pleased to welcome Elise and Jon to Big Brothers Big Sisters’ JEDI Council. Their collective experience in public policy and diversity, equity and inclusion are welcome additions to the council,” said Interim JEDI Council Co-Chair Jana Brown. “I look forward to working alongside them to create more equitable outcomes for the Big Brothers Big Sisters workforce and young people.”

Founded in 2021, BBBSA’s JEDI Council supports the organization’s long-standing commitment to empower all young people. The group, made up of business and nonprofit leaders and experts, brings their expertise and compassion to BBBSA to cultivate strategies, curate concepts, and advise on JEDI issues affecting youth, staff, volunteers, and communities across the country. The formation of this cohort is part of BBBSA’s responsibility to create a nondiscriminatory and anti-racist approach to dismantle any inequities within its policies, systems, programs, and services, so all young people can experience a strong mentoring relationship in their lives.

“With youth empowerment at the center of all we do, BBBSA is committed to tailoring our approach to meet the diverse and evolving needs of the young people we serve. The JEDI Council helps us make sure that we live our values of upholding justice, equity, diversity and inclusion,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and CEO Artis Stevens. “I am grateful to Elise and Jon for sharing their invaluable expertise with us and look forward to working with them as new members of the JEDI Council.”

“I am thrilled to bring my expertise to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as a new member of the JEDI Council,” said James-DeCruise. “The organization’s commitment to providing a fulfilling and equitable experience for Bigs and Littles is commendable. I look forward to working with the JEDI Council to help Big Brothers Big Sisters examine and enhance its policies and practices to best support the communities they serve.”

“I am excited to join Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s JEDI Council,” said Doggett. “Big Brothers Big Sisters has an outstanding reputation and I look forward to sharing my public policy experience to help the organization be the most diverse, mission-driven, youth empowerment organization in the country.”

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s JEDI Council visit: https://www.bbbs.org/justice-equity-diversity-inclusion/.