The need for male mentors is urgent, says Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida CEO Paula Shell: “Hundreds of boys are enrolled in our program every year. Many end up waiting a year or longer to be paired with a Big Brother.”
Most of the children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters live in single-parent households. Some live with grandparents, other family members, or foster families. Each child’s circumstance is different, but there is one thing they all share in common: The need for a positive adult role model.
With a grant from IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area, Big Brothers Big Sisters plans to match at least 100 boys with a Big Brother over the next 100 days. The “100 Men in 100 Days” initiative is part of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ overall strategy of keeping children in school and away from drugs and crime.
“Studies have shown that the lack of a male figure in a boy’s life increases the likelihood he will perform poorly in school or get involved in crime,” Shell said. “It costs on average, $1,000 a year to support a Big Brother/Little Brother match through our agency. On the contrary, it costs our community $30,000 to $60,000 a year when a youth is sent to a moderate-to-high level juvenile facility. For every 100 youth we keep out of the criminal justice system, Escambia and Santa Rosa county taxpayers save a minimum of $3 million per year.”
To learn more about becoming a Big Brother (or Big Sister), visit www.DoALotForALittle.org, call the office at (850) 433-KIDS (5437) or just stop in at 1149 Creighton Road, Suite 1.