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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:

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
  • Guinness-Diageo
  • 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
  • Coca-Cola
  • CJW, Inc.
  • Integrated College Planning
  • Lake Geneva Chiropractic
  • Miller Coors
  • Kunes Country
  • Palermo’s Pizza
  • Del Monte Foods
  • Madison Top
  • Saz’s
  • 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
  • Pan-O-Gold
  • Pett Distributors
  • Aramark
  • 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
  • Xerox
  • Nature’s Fury Nutri Drink
  • Southern Lake
  • WLKG
  • 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