PHILADELPHIA -- The nation's three largest African American fraternities are asking their brothers to lead the movement to put boys on the path to success. The fraternities' challenge to each of their brothers? Become a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters!
Leaders from Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi, which collaborated last year as national partners of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the country's largest donor-supported volunteer mentoring network, sent letters to their fraternity members suggesting that now is the time for change. They outlined a 2010 goal for at least 1,000 fraternity men become Big Brothers.
Engaging the African American community as a partner and recruiting male mentors is a priority for Big Brothers Big Sisters as children of color, specifically African American boys, disproportionately represent children waiting to be matched with mentors.
In a joint letter, distributed electronically to their fellow members, the three national fraternities made this call to action:
We have before us, a rare opportunity to demonstrate the unique power of our organizations to make change happen, for real. We are in fact the most significant gathering of Black male leadership available for service to the nation. We are in a meaningful and growing relationship with the best youth mentoring organization in history, Big Brothers Big Sisters.
As of March 16, 2010 there are 7,453 young Black boys who have stood up and stated they want a Big Brother. There are tens of thousands of active Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi men who are capable of answering the call of these vulnerable youth. Beyond the confines of our membership, we provide leadership in our churches, places of work and communities. Let us now call the entire community to action and once and for all explode the myth that all Black men are "missing in action" when it comes to being engaged where we worship, work and live.
Our 2010 goal is impactful and doable: A Minimum of 1,000 Fraternity Men Become Big Brothers. With a win for our community in 2010 we will set ourselves up to do more in 2011 and beyond.
The great news is that no one man has to step up for 1,000 boys. We are calling for one man to stand with one youth. As each man engages across our country, we will together bend the long arc of the moral universe toward justice. Our eventual goal is to find a mentor for every one of those nearly 7,500 kids who are waiting for the right kind of man to emulate. A man like you!
We are moving forward brothers. Men are becoming Big Brothers, now. Men are leading on Big Brothers Big Sisters boards, now. Men are building careers at Big Brothers Big Sisters, now. Men are contributing financially to Big Brothers Big Sisters, now. What are you going to do? You have to do something or we will not realize our collective vision if more men are not stepping up as mentors in focused one-to-one relationships. Gentlemen, the very future of the fraternal system as we currently know it is at risk of becoming irrelevant, if we stand by idly and do nothing.
We are the ones to love mankind, achieve and see it through. Brothers let us get this done. Start something big and be a Big Brother! Getting involved with this historic alliance compliments and does not replace our current programs.
In order to be men our boys must see men; Alpha, Kappa and Omega men!
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are in single-parent and low-income families or households where a parent is incarcerated. As the nation's largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers ("Bigs") and children ("Littles").
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides a system of ongoing evaluation and support that is proven by independent studies to help families by improving the odds that "Littles" will perform better in school and avoid violence and illegal activities, and have stronger relationships with their parents and others. Headquartered in Philadelphia with a network of nearly 400 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves more than 255,000 children.