Church to Help Recruit ‘Bigs’ for Black Youth

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) is teaming with the African Methodist Episcopal Church to help get more African-American boys off its waiting lists and paired with mentors.

The 2.5 million-member church will ask its congregants to become “Bigs,” recruit volunteers, or help the agency raise funds. The effort will focus on helping the children of single, low-income and incarcerated parents, BBBSA said.

The partnership comes at a time when BBBSA agencies throughout the nation have waiting lists disproportionately represented by African-American boys. The nonprofit says 68.6 percent of the children on its waiting lists are boys, and 38.8 percent of the children on its waiting lists are black – the highest representation of any single ethnic group.

The partnership is one of several steps the national mentoring agency has taken to deal with the issue of finding mentors for African-American boys. In January, BBBSA teamed with three historically black fraternities – Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi – to tap into the organizations’ membership for mentors and for volunteers to help in other areas, such as fund-raising and recruitment. (See “Brother, Can You Spare Some Time?” at http://www.youthtoday.org.)

BBBSA has a network of nearly 400 agencies across the country and reports serving 244,000 youths last year.

Contact: BBBSA at http://www.bbbs.org.