TAMPA, FL (November 18, 2022) – The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has awarded Big Brothers Big Sisters of America two grants totaling $13.5 million to continue the national nonprofit’s evidence-based one-to-one mentoring program.
The first grant is the Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative; the second is the OJJDP Mentoring for Youth Affected by Opioids and Other Substance Misuse initiative. The investment in these two critical programs will mean that youth (called “Littles”) in communities across the country will be matched with caring adult mentors (called “Bigs”), by more than 90 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country.
When comparing Big Brothers Big Sisters Risk and Protective Inventory (RPI) data to national data, parents who have children enrolled in a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program report that 24% have one or more family members who has a problem with alcoholism or drug use, compared to 10% of children nationally. Funding is especially critical today, as mentoring is needed now more than ever with youth facing challenges stemming from the pandemic.
“We hear from parents and caregivers daily about how our mentoring program has been key to their young person reaching their full potential, yet 16 million youth in America are growing up without a positive, sustained mentor,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and CEO Artis Stevens. “The increased support from OJJDP will give Big Brothers Big Sisters the opportunity to bring the power of mentorship to more communities across the country.”