Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butler County is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, and the organization plans on dedicating this year to improving the lives of young people in the community while also focusing of expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of the community’s young people with caring adults through one-on-one relationships.
January is National Mentoring Month, and the non-profit organization has unveiled a list of events planned for this year.
Marvin Torres, vice president of marketing and outreach, said BBBS has a campaign goal of $500,000 this year, which will help the organization grow and improve its ability to find mentors for youth in need.
“We are going to have a year that is full of activities to help us make a difference,” he said. “This month, we, along with the rest of the country, will be celebrating National Mentoring Month honoring the matches between Big Brothers and Big Sisters with their little brothers and little sisters focusing on the life-changing connections that were made.”
In February, BBBS is planning its annual celebration and 50th birthday party, which Torres says will present a grand opportunity to honor and celebrate those who have been part of the program.
“As good as we are with keeping in touch, sometimes some people leave the program and we don’t hear from them. We would like to put the call out for people previously in the program as a Big Brother or Big Sister or little brother or sister. Tell us how you are doing and how the program impacted you when you were in it,” Torres said.
Social media will help with the effort, as BBBS has an active Facebook page that anybody can post a photo or comment to, he added. “Tell us about a favorite restaurant or theater you went to or some of the experiences you enjoyed,” he said.
Julie Dichtl, vice president of development, said the year is also stacked with some interesting challenges for the agency.
“The last time I looked, we had 227 youth waiting to be connected with a Big Brother or Big Sister,” she said. “We have a ‘50 mentors in 50 days’ kicking off in May and June that is an initiative with Hamilton we hope is successful.”
She said Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller is training to be a Big Brother, and the hope is he will challenge other mayors and to sign on as well.
“We hope he will issue the challenge to other mayors and get them to sign-up,” Dichtl said. “We also have a Run for Kids event that will tie in to our 50th anniversary, and also a Black Tie gala in November planned that will reach out to the community to get more people involved.”
Moeller said he is looking forward to being part of the program.
“Adam Bowling of Big Brothers Big Sisters set up a meeting to tell me about what was going on with his program,” Moeller said. “I heard good things about college students and the Hamilton business community becoming involved in the positive mentoring of our youth.”
Bowling told the mayor about a school lunch program where the Big Brother Big Sister volunteer eats lunch with a student at his or her school once a week.
“I told myself that if I could not at least do that for our youth and the Big Brother Big Sister program, shame on me,” Moeller said. “So I signed up and am looking forward to being involved in the mentoring at lunch program.”