Earlier this month the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation awarded Big Brothers Big Sisters of NE Indiana (BBBS) $60,000 for Youth Mentoring Programs offered in Allen County, Indiana.
BBBS recruits, screens, and trains volunteers to be paired with at-risk children ages 5 to 22 in 12 counties. These one-to-one mentor relationships are supported by on-going, professional case management throughout the life of the match.
The predominant mentoring programs are Community-Based and Site-Based. Community-Based is the traditional match program in which children are mentored by a Big Brother, Big Sister, or Big Couple through various activities out in the community two to four times a month. For 2017 we served 959 CB matches total (over 650 in Allen County). The Big Futures Program is an extension of the Community-Based program, this program continues the mentoring relationship with young adults (ages 14–22) by providing them with the skills to graduate high school and go on to college, a career or the military. For the 2017-18 school year 100% of the BBBS high school seniors graduated high school!
Site-Based School Buddies – the program in which children are mentored by a Big Brother or Big Sister once a week during the academic year at their elementary school. We served 586 SB matches in 2017, 313 of which were in Allen County. Other programs include: First Friends – Volunteers provide companionship for Allen County children who are currently on the waiting list for a mentor by attending weekly activities. First Mentors – partnership with Bishop Luers and Canterbury High School students who volunteer to participate in activities with children at the schools and in the community. Real Men Read – Volunteers encourage literacy and a love for learning by reading to 2nd and 3rd grade students five times during the school year.
Of the 979 youth served in Allen County in 2017, 73% are from single-parent or other-parent households; 19% have a household income less than $10,000 a year; 59% have a household income less than $30,000 a year; 68% are between the ages 5-12, 32% age 13 or older; 62% identify as a minority; and 23% have at least one parent incarcerated. Many of the youth served face multiple risk factors. The Agency continues to provide mentoring programs to the youth most in need.
English-Bonter-Mitchell Foundation, established in 1972, gives primarily to cultural programs and programs for youth; supporting also for higher education, hospitals, churches and religious organizations, social services, health and community development.