January is National Mentoring Month – a month dedicated to bringing awareness to the need for volunteer mentors nationwide and the life-changing impact a mentor can make in a child’s life. Since 1975, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee has been creating and supporting long-term, professional one-to-one relationships between youth facing adversity and caring volunteer adult mentors. As National Mentoring Month comes to an end, the Chamber celebrates this remarkable organization and its impact on the Milwaukee area.
The Big Brother Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee team tells us more about its mission:
Why did your organization decide to join the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber?
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all – this core value of our organization aligns perfectly with the work the Chamber is doing and we are proud to be members.
Tell us a bit about Big Brothers Big Sisters and what you do.
Many youth in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties need support to help them reach their full potential. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee provides these mentoring services free of charge to more than 1,400 children annually thanks to dedicated volunteers and generous donors.
Youth in Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentoring program often face numerous challenges. Many come from single parent households. They may have unstable family and home environments. They often live in low-income and high-crime neighborhoods. Some have experienced trauma in their lives. Many face pressure from their peers to participate in risky behavior. They often lack social and emotional support systems to help them deal with struggles they may face.
But above all, they are resilient and have enormous potential. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ compassionate volunteer mentors are solely dedicated to their mentees’ well-being and stand with them as they navigate the challenges of growing up. Through these close and transformational mentoring relationships, youth are introduced to new experiences and opportunities, build self-confidence, develop healthy relationships, make responsible choices, succeed in school, and break those cycles of poverty and socioeconomic barriers.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Changing the lives of children! Truly – the stories we hear every day remind us of why this work is so important – and why we cannot stop telling that story of life-changing impact and the need for volunteers. Right now there are more than 62,000 at-risk youth in Milwaukee County alone.
We currently have more than 400 local children on our waiting list. These children could all benefit from a committed adult mentor in their lives who will help them to overcome obstacles, avoid risky behaviors, and envision a successful future.
How would you like people to remember your organization?
The legacy of Big Brothers Big Sisters lives on in the lives of the youth and families we serve and the incredible volunteers who carry out our mission. What is most meaningful for us in when we learn of former youth in our program who grow up to lead successful lives and return to the organization as a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister themselves – paying it forward and creating that full circle mentoring moment.
To us that is the greatest legacy and reflection of real life-changing impact.
Finally, what do you enjoy most about being a member of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber?
We very much value the Chamber’s diversity and collective energy for a strong pro-fairness business community. The Chamber is a great resource and “connector” for an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters which has far-reaching impact in the State of Wisconsin. We share the Chamber’s commitment to making long-lasting positive relationships.
Interested in becoming a Defender of Potential? Learn more about becoming a volunteer mentor today!
Fill out the online volunteer inquiry form or call Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee at (414) 831-4563.