Big Brothers Big Sisters Partners with Local Law Enforcement in NEW BIGS IN BLUE PROGRAM
BIGS IN BLUE has been launched in our service area and we are busy matching Law Enforcement officers with youth in our Youth Mentoring Programs.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — One of the country's oldest mentoring organizations is starting a program pairing police with youth in an effort to address the fraught relationship between officers and the communities they serve.
Already operating in several of their affiliate branches, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America's "Bigs in Blue" program is set to begin in January. Officers will volunteer to serve as a "Big" for a child, interacting weekly for 30 minutes to an hour at the child's school, though longer visits outside of a school setting may happen depending on the relationship. Child participants will be elementary or middle school age.
Big Brothers Big Sisters President Pam Iorio said expanding the program nationally stands to change perceptions for both police and children.
"Right now, there is an identifiable problem with poor relations between police and communities," said Iorio. "This helps the police officer connect to the families they serve. They're not going into a neighborhood to make an arrest; they're going into a neighborhood to form a bond. It helps that young person see the police officers as a friend."
The shootings of unarmed black people by police in recent years have brought attention to the issue of disparate treatment in some communities, particularly ones of color, by law enforcement — creating a sense of distrust and skepticism between officers and residents. That has led to protests seeking police reforms and even rioting in some places.
The tensions also have divided communities, in some cases, along racial lines. One-on-one interactions could make a difference and help to change the conversation, said Iorio, a former mayor of Tampa, Florida, who had police chiefs who served in the Big Brother Big Sister program.
"This is one relationship at a time," said Iorio. "That's how we're going to solve problems in this country."
Big Brothers Big Sisters is raising money to support the initiative and has a goal of $5 million, which would fund the program for one-third of the organization's 300 local affiliates, including the Philadelphia chapter.
For Marcus Allen, CEO of the Independence Region that includes Philadelphia, Bigs in Blue is personal. As a 10-year-old growing up near Augusta, Georgia, Allen's first mentor was a police officer who took an interest in him and encouraged him to pursue his education.
"I know from experience that there are some really good police officers out there who are doing a really great job and have a really difficult job to do, which is totally separate from some of the stuff that we're seeing where unarmed black men are getting shot," said Allen, who is black.
Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Richard Ross will serve as national spokesman for the program. He said he expects tremendous interest from officers, many of whom already volunteer their time to work with young people in the city.
Ross said he is encouraged that the program could help improve relations with police and communities.
"We've got to fight against a powerful narrative that is potentially in jeopardy of making young people believe a certain thing about all police officers," Ross said. "This is an extension of what we do and ... an opportunity to show people who we are."
Ross, who is black and has mentored young men in Philadelphia himself, said the program could also help educate and boost morale among his officers.
"It's easy if you're in a uniform to feel like it's always 'them against us,'" he said. "You want them to know they do have more support. Having regular conversations about things other than policing, you can't help but see beyond the uniform."
Bigs In Blue: www.bigsinblue.org
Origional Article: 'Bigs in Blue' will try to bridge gap by pairing cops, youth
For additional information, please contact Big Brothers Big Sisters at 262-728-8865.
Stinebrink gives 24 years of support to Big Brothers Big Sisters
Twenty four years ago Mark Stinebrink started the Stinebrink Golf For Kids' Sake event to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters, Rock, Walworth & Jefferson Counties. July 14 Golf for Kids' Sake 2016 was held at Evergreen Golf Club. In those 24 years Mr. Stinebrink and his many vendors, family and friends he have generously contributed well over $500,000 to the organization.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth and Jefferson Counties would like to thank Mark Stinebrink and all those who helped make this happen.
- Stinebrink Piggly Wiggly
- The Stinebrink Family
- Baker Tilly
- Town Bank
- Giraffe Electric
- Patrick Cudahy
- Bernatello's Pizza
- Stiney's Gophers
- Dr. Pepper/Snapple
- Lake Geneva Jaycees
- Old Wisconsin Cheese
- US Foods
- Nottestad Memorial
- Southern Wisconsin News
- Dean Foods
- Alder Group
- Godfrey, Leibsle, Blackbourn & Howarth, SC
- BMO Harris Bank
- CJW, Inc.
- Integrated College Planning
- Lake Geneva Chiropractic
- Miller Coors
- Kunes Country
- Palermo's Pizza
- Del Monte Foods
- Madison Top
- Lillig & Thorsness, Ltd.
- Pepsi Beverages Company
- Delicato Family Vineyards
- Chicago Baking
- Novotny Deli Provisions
- Boar's Head Brand
- Witt Beverages/Black Bear Soda
- Badger Inventory
- Pett Distributors
- Blue Bunny
- Badger Liquor
- Blackhawk CCU
- Fox Brothers
- Frito Lay
- Grebes Bakery
- Jays Potato Chips
- Johnson Brothers
- KFM, Inc.
- Lakeland Marketing
- Plas-Tech Engineering
- Russ Davis Wholesale
- Professional Supply
- Risk Management
- RJ Amann Builders
- Sperino's Little Italy
- Willkomm Construction Services
- Ahler Group
- Nature's Fury Nutri Drink
- Southern Lake
- Chris's Buddies
- Koch Group
Big Brother and Big Sister of the year 2016
Big Brothers Big Sisters wants to introduce our Big Brother and Big Sister of the year 2016. This honor reflects the dedication of Harry and Sally to volunteering to help the children in our community.
Harry volunteered to become a big brother in 2012 and has been matched with his little brother, Tyler for 3 1/2 years. Sally has volunteered with BBBS for 6 years; She was first matched with her Little Sister Joslyn in our Lunch Buddies program and then for the past 3 years they have been in both Lunch Buddies and in our Community Based program.
In addition to their time with their little brother/sister; Harry and Sally both are regular participants in Big Brothers Big Sisters events in the community. They have each worked to support BBBS's fund raising efforts and to make our community more aware of the positive impact of mentoring that is available to families through BBBS. Congratulations Harry and Sally.
Martin Luther King Commemoration
BBBS was honored to be included in this year's Martin Luther King Commemoration at Blackhawk Technical College! Pictured are Big Brother Tommie and Little Brother Jacob, talking about their match and giving back to the community.
Picture provided by the Janesville Gazette
Fishing with the Abbotts
Wow!! We want to send a great big thank you out to Mark and Liz Abbott who recently hosted several of our Bigs and Littles for a fishing event on their property. They put together this photo show--enjoy!!
In The News...
July 2015 - Press Release
Big Brothers, Big Sisters Partners with Boys and Girls Club of Janesville
An exciting new opportunity is developing through a partnership with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Rock, Walworth and Jefferson Counties (BBBS) and the local Boys and Girls Club (BGC) in Janesville, WI. The club has numerous members who can benefit from caring, adult volunteers who become a Big Brother or Sister to them. BBBS desired a designated space where adult volunteers can engage in one on one mentorship with kids. Starting this fall, adults from the community can volunteer to be mentors for kids at the BGC during the school year. Recruitment is happening NOW!
Both organizations serve children, and believe that one on one mentoring is one of the best ways to engage in building character, helping with academics and improving social skills. Volunteers need to be willing to commit one hour per week to their Little Brother or Sister, and the best days at the club are Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays anytime between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.
National statistics show that in every town where there is a Boys and Girls Club, juvenile crime goes down and graduation rates go up. Similar statistics gathered for Big Brothers Big Sisters shows that after just one year of involvement in the program the youth perform better academically, improve peer relationships, interact more positively in school, show higher self-esteem, are less likely to start using drugs and alcohol and participate in more extracurricular activities. Imagine the impact when both of these organizations pool their efforts to benefit our youth!
The goal of this project is to not only to grow the mentoring opportunities at the Janesville BGC, but to expand the programs offered to youth through Big Brothers Big Sistersto span across Rock, Jefferson and Walworth counties by eventually expanding this partnership to the club sites in Fort Atkinson and Delavan. By partnering to offer this program to area youth BGC and BBBS are working together to strengthen the opportunities for our youth.
You can become a part of this dynamic program and make a difference in the life of a child by contacting Melanie at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Rock, Walworth and Jefferson Counties at 262-728-8865 or email@example.com. Join in and make a difference.
April 5, 2015 - Angela Major
WHITEWATER-On the playground during recess at Lincoln Inquiry Charter School, Mikole Pierce teased Ethan Watts about a girl Ethan fancies.
"Where's your girl?" Pierce asked Ethan.
Ethan is a fourth-grader and Pierce is a a senior at UW-Whitewater. They're lunch buddies through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth and Jefferson Counties.
"Oh my God," Ethan responded as his cheeks turned red and he playfully punched Pierce.
Pierce picked up Ethan, turned him upside down and carried him a few feet while swinging him around. The two laughed.
Ethan and Pierce were paired in January 2014 and have met weekly ever since.
Ethan can be a boy of few words.
During the first few visits, Ethan wouldn't talk to Pierce, a member of the UW-Whitewater baseball team.
Pierce coaxed information from Ethan over games of chess. For each piece Pierce took, Ethan shared something about himself.
After a few weeks, Ethan opened up about his life at home, about school and even about a girl.
"He's really shy when it comes to girls," Pierce said before asking Ethan about the girl again in a quieter voice.
Ethan and Pierce have secrets.
The two talk about things they might not discuss with other people.
Ethan confides in Pierce about things at home that bother him. Pierce has talked to Ethan about life after graduation.
During lunch Wednesday, Pierce and Ethan sat across from each other at a table in the gym and shared jokes inaudible to someone a few feet away but clearly entertaining to the duo.
Pierce is one of a growing number of UW-Whitewater baseball players who volunteer with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
Pierce was the first volunteer from the team. When the organization was in need of more volunteers, Pierce asked his teammates if anyone was interested.
Since then, two others have joined and more are considering it, Pierce said.
April is National Volunteer Month.
Andrea Levine, community-based program coordinator of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program, said volunteers like Pierce and the others are invaluable to children's education and confidence.
"They make all of the change for the children," Levine said. "We just facilitate that... The kids are really excited to get a Big Brother or Big Sister, and the volunteers really want to help a child. They go in to it with the dedication to see it through, and amazing things happen."
Children with Bigs are 46 percent less likely to use illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to drink alcohol and 52 percent less likely to skip school, according to the organization's website.
When Pierce started working with Ethan, Ethan was having trouble at school.
He had in-school suspensions, wasn't doing his work and had trouble focusing.
As time has passed, Ethan's behavior and work has improved. This year he has had zero in-school suspensions.
Pierce smiles when he talks about Ethan's marked improvement, and the senior doesn't take credit for it.
"He doesn't really have a lot of role models, and it's good to be one of those role models to him and help him out any way I can," Pierce said. "I think he can trust me with just about anything. He's pretty open with me about what he's going through."
Ethan was hesitant to share why he liked having Pierce around because the reporter asking questions was a female, and, as Pierce explained, Ethan is shy around girls.
Eventually Ethan, with flushed cheeks, explained he never thought about why he likes having Pierce around. He just does.
"He's awesome," Ethan said before looking up and over at Pierce in the hallway.
A few moments later, Ethan fist-bumped Pierce goodbye and went back to class.
Pierce is not looking forward to saying goodbye to Ethan. He's seeking the perfect replacement from his team.
"I want to put him in good hands," Pierce said. "I don't want to leave him hanging."
Helping a local student is one reason Pierce volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters. The organization was also the best fit for his schedule and a way to give back to the community.
"A lot revolves around the college, but a lot gets forgotten about the actual community of Whitewater, not the university," Pierce said. "I transferred twice before I came here, so being able to give back to Whitewater the way Whitewater has given to me is great."
Teammate Will Helbing chose the organization for the same reasons.
As a kid, Helbing always wanted a younger sibling that could look up to him like he did his sister.
At first, Helbing, a sophomore, and his Little were shy around each other. Now, the two hug and high-five when they see one another.
"He tells me how excited he is for me to come in on that day," Helbing said. "I can tell it makes his day better, and it even makes my day better to come by just for an hour and hang out with someone who idolizes me. (I can) take a step back from schoolwork and baseball.
"It's a really good relationship because we both benefit from it."
"Group fostering bond between UW-W baseball players, local students". Janesville GazetteXtra. April 5, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015. Posted with email permission.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth, and Jefferson Counties would like to recognize some new and amazing volunteers.
Thanks to the dedication of these Exacto employees, we were able to open a new site-based mentoring site at Sharon Elementary in the Delavan-Darien School District. Pictured left to right are Jennell Juhnke, Linda Krizka, CEO Diana Braun, and Nikki Illgen. Seated is Wayne Kittell. They've already made a big impact, and we thank them for their dedication.
Be the Change - Be a Mentor
Impact your community by getting involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth & Jefferson Counties!
Whether you become a volunteer or donor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, you will change lives, including your own. We're helping children throughout Rock, Walworth & Jefferson Counties discover their BIG potential through professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships, but we can't do it without you!
Big Brothers Big Sisters Mission
To make a positive difference in the lives of children (ages 6-14), primarily through a professionally supported one-to-one mentor/mentee relationship. By providing a caring adult in a youth's life, BBBS will assist them in achieving their highest potential as they grow to become confident, competent and caring individuals in our community. Big Brothers Big Sisters will work diligently to provide committed volunteers, national leadership and standards of excellence to all of our matches.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Vision
Within our tri-county area, our vision is to recruit and retain exceptional staff and volunteers who listen, discuss and support our efforts to provide quality programming.