With a Big, Littles become more confident and build better relationships
GREEN BAY, WI — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin (BBBSNEW) is raising awareness about the benefits of being a Little, especially for girls ages 7 to 10, through its campaign StrongHer Together.
“We know mentoring works, and it works best when children begin the mentor relationship at a younger age as a preventative measure,” said Katie Hess, executive director. “Girls face higher risk for low self-esteem, bullying and anxiety, and we know if we can provide girls with one more healthy role model, we can help them develop confidence, build better relationships and avoid behaviors that could lead to trouble.”
Youth enrolled in BBBSNEW’s community-based programs during 2018 showed improvement in social acceptance (65%), grades (63%), attitudes toward risky behaviors (86%) and parental trust (79%).
Thanks to grants from the Women’s Fund of the Greater Green Bay Area Community Foundation and Sonnentag Foundation, BBBSNEW is launching the campaign in the hopes that more girls enrolled as Littles will be in this age group.
“We want to let parents of girls in the 7- to 10-year-old age group know that Big Brothers Big Sisters is an ally, and having a mentor will strengthen their relationship with their daughters,” said Mary Malcore-Miller, program director. “Enrolling girls at this age can help prevent some of the issues that we see when girls enter the program in the pre-teen and teen years.”
The youth mentoring program, which provides services in Brown, Door and Shawano counties, served 603 children in 2018, 62% of which were girls. BBBSNEW is seeing a trend of girls being referred to the program between the ages of 11 and 13 who have acute needs developed from bullying, social isolation, anxiety and depression.
“Finding the right mentor to match with a Little who has acute needs can be difficult and they typically wait longer,” said Malcore-Miller.
BBBSNEW accepts children into its program as young as age 7 and will serve the child and her mentor through young adult years.
Once a child is enrolled, parents provide information about their child’s strengths and needs. They approve the selection of the Big Sister and once the match is made, parents remain involved by approving activities for their child and their Big Sister, having regular communication about those activities with the agency, as well as reporting their child’s progress and milestones. There may be occasional child safety training and support for other issues that may affect their child.
Parents who wish to enroll their child in Big Brothers Big Sisters can fill out an application online at bbbsnew.org/enroll-a-child, or call 920-498-2227.
Click here to download an informational flyer.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin is the premier youth mentoring organization serving Brown, Door and Shawano counties, serving more than 600 children in 2018. Our mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong, enduring, professionally-supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Founded in 1972, we are a 100 percent donor and volunteer supported nonprofit organization.