In 2018, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah served 1,309 children across the state. This number is great, but there are more volunteer opportunities Utah residents can make with BBBS that will further change the lives of our youth. However, some of you might be unsure about what mentoring is and what impact it has on kids.
WHAT MENTORING IS
Since 1978, BBBS has instituted a system that gives kids who are facing challenging circumstances in Utah an additional adult role model outside of their parents. When a child is enrolled in our program, we match them with a fitting and trusted adult who will spend one-to-one time with them. We call these adults, or mentors, “Bigs,” and the kids, “Littles.” A Big will reach out to their Little on a regular basis and simply spend time with them. Some common activities include going for a walk, hitting a bucket of golf balls at a driving range, listening to music, reading together or going to a museum. While these kinds of activities are an additional source for kids to have fun, it is the meaningful interaction they have with our Bigs that leaves the biggest impact.
WHY KIDS NEED MENTORS
The volunteer opportunities Utah residents have are not always recognized, but that doesn’t mean that the need for them does not exist. For example, of the 1,309 children we support, 80 percent of them live in poverty, 48 percent live in single-parent households, 10 percent have an incarcerated parent and 6 percent are refugees. Outside of Utah’s BBBS program, 90,000 kids ages 6-18 live in poverty, 44,000 experience separation from a parent due to incarceration and 24,000 are refugee kids. These living conditions are proven to make it more difficult for kids to go on to have a healthier and more successful life. However, through interaction with an additional adult role model, these kids are less likely to engage in risky behavior and more likely to reach their potential.
WHAT IMPACT MENTORING HAS
With years of volunteer help from the good people of Utah, we have been able to see a significant impact on our Littles. Mentored youth maintain better attitudes about school, have better attendance and are more likely to pursue higher education. In fact, Littles who face an opportunity gap but have a mentor are 55 percent more likely to enroll in college. From the example set by trusted Bigs, our Littles are more prepared for their college experience, future careers and helping develop the future workplace talent pipeline. None of this would happen if it wasn’t for our supportive Bigs taking advantage of the volunteer opportunities Utah BBBS provides.
HOW TO BECOME A DEFENDER OF POTENTIAL
There are a plethora of volunteer opportunities Utah citizens can find, but few are as fulfilling and manageable as becoming a Big. Any trustworthy adult can change the life of a young kid by becoming a Big. Stand with us by going to our volunteer page and become a defender of potential today!