Last week we discussed how building your sphere of influence is intertwined with community engagement. This week let us turn the spotlight on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Memphis.
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. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, the organization makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. Locally, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Memphis has been serving our community since 1968.
The nonprofit focuses on two types of mentoring programs: Community-based Mentoring and School/Site-based mentoring. With Community-based Mentoring, adults volunteer three to four hours at least twice per month with a youth, for a commitment of at least a year. The two typically get together on their own to spend time developing a one-to-one relationship. With School/Site-based Mentoring, Bigs and Littles meet once a week for a designated time at a set location, like an elementary school. They engage in recreational and educational activities, as well as school work.
One of their specialty programs is “Amachi,” which pairs children of incarcerated parents with mentors. This program has proven to be successful in helping to break the destructive cycle of youth following in their parents’ footsteps. Quoting a local leader, “You cannot be what you cannot see.” Having a mentor, who offers unconditional love and shows these youth new environments and opportunities, makes all the difference in the world. Just think of the exponential effects for our city if we can steer them toward a life of positive achievement.
Consider being a Big by volunteering just a few hours a month with a child. Donate used cell phones to their recycling program. Attend their events or sport some luxury V.K. Nagrani socks that are playful, dressy, designed by the kids, and benefit the organization.