ST. CLOUD, Minn. – School supplies are on the shelves at stores around the area, but as local youth prepare to head back to the school, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota wants to reach more kids outside of the classroom.
Starting July 31, BBBS of Central Minnesota is running a Back to School recruitment campaign with a goal of securing 100 new adult Bigs by Sept. 15. Heading into the new school year, the Central Minnesota agency has more than 120 youth waiting for a mentor, and that list will likely grow as once classes get back in session and teachers and counselors identify other kids who would benefit from an adult mentor.
Recruitment of adult mentors is a priority heading into the 2023-24 school year. Adult mentors can be matched through the agency’s community-based program, as well as the Sports Buddies initiative or Bigs on Campus initiative. Community-based matches meet on their own time, while Sports Buddies and Bigs on Campus matches meet at agency sponsored activities and set times.
Of the Littles on the wait list, 10 have been waiting more than two years to find a mentor. On average, boys wait 10 months to find a mentor and girls wait nearly seven months. Sixty percent of the waiting Littles identify as male, but less than 30 percent of the Central Minnesota agency’s current mentors identify as male.
A campaign kickoff event is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 1, at Iron Street Distillery in St. Cloud. From 4-7 p.m., current Bigs and anyone interested in becoming a Big is welcome to stop by to talk to BBBS staff about becoming a mentor.