ATLANTA, -- On December 18, Big Brothers Big Sisters and leaders of the network's Black Fraternity Coalition will meet in Atlanta (Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, 165 Courtland, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) to develop a bold strategy and detailed plan aimed at giving African American boys every opportunity to succeed. Leaders of the nation's largest donor-supported volunteer mentoring network and their fraternity partners say they will significantly increase the number of African American Big Brothers, beginning in 2010.
The African American Mentoring summit, sponsored by the Arby's Foundation, is the second step in Big Brothers Big Sisters' announcement of its unprecedented collaboration with Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi fraternities aimed at getting more black men engaged in long-term mentoring. Recognizing that children of color, particularly African American boys, disproportionately represent children waiting to be matched, Big Brothers Big Sisters and its African American Roundtable (internal and external advisors) have made engaging black men a priority.
Big Brothers Big Sisters, proven to help vulnerable youth beat the odds, matches and supports more children and mentors of color in long-term one-to-one mentoring than any organization in the nation. The donor-supported volunteer network has seen a steady increase in both African American Littles and Bigs (see statistics below) since 2000. Still, with boys waiting to be matched disproportionately representing African Americans; the national donor-supported volunteer network continues its intentional focus on attracting more black men.
"Alpha Phi Alpha, our first fraternity partner, as well as Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi know our track record -- that children in our programs are more likely to improve in school, stay out of trouble and have positive relationships with their families," said Karen Mathis, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and Chief Executive Officer, who will speak at the summit. "At the end of the day, we will have a specific strategy for joining forces with the fraternities to support the growing numbers of parents, most of them, single mothers, who look to Big Brothers Big Sisters to help their sons succeed."
Even as economic challenges have slowed match growth for many of the mentoring network's agencies, the national non-profit expects by year's end to have a slight increase in African American male mentors for its community-based programs. The organization attributes this year's progress in part to President Barack Obama's Call to Service and local efforts by their fraternity partners, particularly Alpha Phi Alpha, which began supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters 18 years ago with recruiting and fundraising activities. Credit also goes to the organization's Campaign for Men, an Arby's Foundation-supported marketing program and its 2009 Mentoring Brothers efforts, led by syndicated radio personalities the 2 Live Stews with support from Tom Joyner and other African American syndicated radio personalities.
At the Mentoring Roundtable, Georgia Congressman John L. Lewis and Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode, Jr. will share strategies with the national non-profit and fraternity leaders about how to build national movements. Goode, former Philadelphia mayor and member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, is the father of the national non-profit's successful Amachi Mentoring Children of Prisoners program and serves on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania. Lewis, a renowned civil rights leader, is a member of Phi Beta Sigma, another fraternity expected to join the national black fraternity mentoring collaboration. Summit leaders will also hear from African American male matches from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta.
Big Brothers Big Sisters receives referrals from longtime partners 100 Black Men, Susan Taylor's National Cares Mentoring Movement, MENTOR, and other mentoring advocacy organizations. In the past decade, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been intentional about servicing America's most vulnerable children, those of single, low-income or incarcerated parents, who are disproportionately children of color.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters helps vulnerable children beat the odds. The organization depends on donations to help conduct background checks on volunteers to ensure child safety; and provide ongoing support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting relationships, key to successful mentoring. Big Brothers Big Sisters is proven by independent research to improve children's odds for succeeding in school, behaving nonviolently, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and breaking negative cycles. Headquartered in Philadelphia and with nearly 400 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves more than a quarter million children. Learn how you can change how children grow up in America by going to BigBrothersBigSisters.org and mentoringbrothers.org.
SOURCE Big Brothers Big Sisters