BBBSNEW Serving More Children in Brown, Door, Shawano Counties
GREEN BAY, Wis.— Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin (BBBSNEW) is raising awareness about the need for mentors as its programs expand and are on track to serve even more area youth than its record high last year.
“When children and teens have the influence of a caring adult, they are more likely stay focused on school and stay out of trouble,” says Katie Hess, executive director. “Being matched with a Big Sister or a Big Brother can help them navigate the challenges of our society today and help them realize their potential.”
The agency needs the community’s help to meet the need. With nearly 80 children ages 7 to 13 on the waiting list to be matched, there are several new initiatives that are increasing the need beyond that.
Six-Twelve Mentoring, a partnership with Achieve Brown County and youth agencies, is looking to grow to 100 mentors in the second year of the pilot program. Six-Twelve matches children in sixth- through 12-grade with a mentor to help the child stay focused on the path to graduation.
Transitions To Success, a partnership with Brown County Human Services, matches at-risk teens and young adults with a mentor to help them practice independent living skills and set goals for their future.
The agency served 603 children in Brown, Door and Shawano counties last year, and Hess said it’s likely that number will be surpassed. So far this year, BBBSNEW has served 73 children more than this time last year.
“Anyone who has the desire to help a child, and have a little fun along the way, can be a mentor,” says Mary Malcore-Miller, program director.
Malcore-Miller says adults of any age, even retirees, make great mentors. BBBSNEW also works with other school districts including Southern Door, Denmark, Howard-Suamico and Pulaski, where sophomores can mentor a child in the elementary schools through their senior year.
“Mentoring makes such an incredible impact on the life of a child, and the mentor gets a lot out of it too,” she says. “A lot of Bigs say they enjoy sharing their life experiences with a younger person.”
While the waiting list of Littles may be discouraging, Malcore-Miller says parents and guardians should consider BBBSNEW a resource for their child, especially for girls between the age of 7 and 10. “Big Brothers Big Sisters is an ally, and having a mentor can strengthen their relationship with their children,” she said.
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%).
Anyone interested in learning more about being a Big or enrolling their child can fill out an application online at bbbsnew.org, or call 920-498-2227. BBBSNEW holds 30-minute informational sessions at 5:30 p.m. each Tuesday at its offices at 520 N. Broadway St. Suite 220.
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 create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Founded in 1972, we are a 100 percent donor and volunteer supported nonprofit organization.