TAMPA, FL--(Marketwired - November 03, 2016) - Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the nation's oldest one-to-one youth mentoring organization, today launched Bigs in Blue, a national program aimed at recruiting local law enforcement to serve as mentors to youth in their local community.
"We want to be part of the solution to the growing tension between many of our youth and our law enforcement," said Pam Iorio, BBBSA President & CEO. "As a former mayor, I saw firsthand the positive impact that came from police mentoring young people in Tampa."
BBBSA will tap into its network of more than 300 local affiliates for this program. While there are a number of law enforcement officers already mentoring youth in communities across the country, Bigs in Blue will be the first national campaign of its kind. BBBSA is actively fundraising, having already raised $1,250,000 of its five-million-dollar goal to bring the initiative to as many communities as possible.
"I can't think of a more important time than the present to find positive ways to connect with our youth," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr., National Law Enforcement Spokesperson for Bigs in Blue. "Big Brothers Big Sisters has a heart for America's youth and a proven model in one-to-one mentoring -- this program can develop friendships that can make a difference and last a lifetime."
"The response we are getting is tremendous," said Iorio. "I am so encouraged that people want to build a bridge between police and community and are volunteering their time and financial support -- it's truly moving to see such an outpouring at this early stage in the program."
"I'm fully committed to this program because the value of being a mentor and having a positive impact in the life of a young person is priceless," said Commissioner Ross. "Bigs in Blue is about strengthening the bond between police and communities who must work together for the betterment of society."
Implementation is already underway, with local programs designed in collaboration with community officials and law enforcement. Monies raised for the program will go towards expanding the initiative in more cities. BBBS affilaites will partner with local law enforcement agencies, recruit and train the Bigs, and match them to the Littles.
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.
To learn more, visit BigsinBlue.org
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong and 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 such measurable outcomes as educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization's 112-year history. With over 300 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves nearly 170,000 children ("Littles"), their families and 170,000 volunteer mentors ("Bigs"). Learn more at www.BigBrothersBigSisters.org.