State Farm Neighborhood Assist ® 2018

Provide at-risk youth with mentoring from law enforcement -Big Brothers Big Sisters' Bigs in Blue

To provide at-risk youth with one-to-one mentoring that positively impacts their lives forever.

100% of our cause focuses on unmet needs in the community.

The events of July 7, 2016 shocked the nation and shook the city of Dallas to its core. When a lone gunman opened fire at a peaceful protest, he was looking to harm those who strive every day to keep us safe. Our community has searched for ways to assist officers and city officials to build bridges between themselves and communities who feel disenfranchised.

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) believes the best way to break down these barriers is to start with those who are most vulnerable--our city's at-risk youth.

In order to help our community heal, BBBS launched Bigs in Blue (BiB). The initiative utilizes our evidence-based one-to-one mentoring program to connect at-risk youth to police and other civic employees with the communities they serve, building strong, trusting, and lasting relationships. These relationships will help build stronger bonds between first responders and the families they serve.

BBBS' one-to-one mentoring program model is unlike any other. Youth facing adversity (mentees) in our community are paired with volunteers within our community (mentors) and build strong, safe and trusting relationships. Our BiB program has the support and participation of city officials such as Dallas City Manager, T.C. Broadnax, Dallas Police Chief, Renee Hall, Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey, along with many other uniformed personnel already enrolled in the program.

A generous grant of $25,000 would allow BBBS to further recruit, enroll, and match law enforcement officers and city employees into our BiB Program, matching an additional 20 youth with a caring, supportive, mentor. With over 800 at-risk youth on our wait list to be matched, the need for supportive volunteers is high and continuing to grow. Creating more BiB matches meets two needs in our community: 1) connects an at-risk youth with a supportive adult; and 2) builds empathy between law enforcement and youth.

Mentoring is a simple act: providing guidance and friendship to someone who can benefit from a positive role model. But its impact is profound. Mentors can change child's life trajectory by helping them learn new skills, form positive relationships, talk through challenges, gain self-esteem, and fulfill their potential.

All children can benefit from mentoring, but those who are experiencing adversity need it most. Our programs have proven results; 98% of mentored youth promote to the next grade, stay out of the juvenile justice system, and/or maintain or improve their attitudes toward risky behavior; 95% maintain or increase their scholastic competency. These outcomes help develop our youth to become future leaders and influencers in our community creating a stronger, smarter, safer place for future generations to flourish.

BiB mentoring builds trust and trust can heal a community. BiB matches can develop long lasting empathy and improve relations between officers and our youth.