Big Brothers Big Sisters and its African American fraternity partners are marking National Mentoring Month and the January 16 Martin Luther King Day of Service with the launch of Mentoring Brothers in Action, Phase II of their two-year collaborative partnership. The goal of the program, which will include support from popular nationally syndicated urban radio host Michael Baisden, is to engage more African American men in fraternal, social, faith-based and professional organizations to get involved in one-to-one mentoring to change the odds for African American boys.
“Like so many of our young men, my father also abandoned me so I understand the importance of mentoring. I was fortunate to have uncles and other men in my community to set the right example and to correct me when I was out of line,” Baisden, who is challenging other influencers, donors and celebrities to support the effort. “If we want to see different results in our young people we have to invest more into them and show them what is possible. I became a successful writer because I saw successful writers; I became a successful radio personality because I saw successful radio personalities, and so on. If we want to create more successful children we need them to see an example of success and integrity. Success is not an accident, it’s something you practice every day in the way you live your life and the way you treat people. Become a mentor today and be that example!”
“With Mentoring Brothers in Action, we are working with our fraternity partners, bolstered by the support of Michael Baisden — one of the most prominent and passionate proponents of mentoring — to bring together our best resources to tackle one of the nation’s most urgent crises. Our goal is to have a positive impact on high school graduation, juvenile justice and economic equity,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Co-Chief Executive Officer Max Miller.
The 2012 action plan includes:
MentoringBrothers.org, powered by Big Brothers Big Sisters: The unique website and social media effort, which launches January 16, will enable African American men to be the impetus for dramatically changing the odds for African American boys across the nation. Initially developed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as an African American male mentor recruiting tool, the revamped MentoringBrothers.org will serve as the nation’s central source for in-depth, interactive mentoring resources.
Mentoring Brothers in Action National Summit: Michael Baisden will headline this Big Brothers Big Sisters summit February 10 in Atlanta, where invited guests include education and mentoring experts; mentors, mentees and supporters.
Replicating and expanding best practice partnership initiatives: African American fraternity chapters will team with a number of Big Brothers Big Sisters local agencies to host “friend raisers,” barbershop recruiting drives, Bowl for Kids Sake fundraisers, and other efforts that have been successful throughout the mentoring network to engage more African American men in long-term, professionally supported outcomes-focused mentoring.
Combining Resources: The plan will include strategic pilot programs aimed at assisting fraternity partners in demonstrating measurable outcomes for children who participate in their unique service initiatives and programs, such as Kappa Alpha Psi’s Guide Right; Omega Psi Phi’s Operation Lamp Light; and Alpha Phi Alpha’s Project Alpha.
Big Brothers Big Sisters expects Mentoring Brothers in Action to create new and broader pathways to provide mentors for African American boys who disproportionately represent children waiting to be matched with Big Brothers. The national mentoring organization carefully screens volunteer mentors and matches them with youth who face adversity in long-term, professionally supported mentoring relationships. One of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ largest funders is the Office of Juvenile Justice and Detention Prevention, which competitively awards Youth Mentoring Grants to nonprofits serving children who are exposed to high levels of family, community or social risks that could lead to educational failure, juvenile delinquency or gang-related offenses.
“Mentoring Brothers in Action takes our two-year partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters to the next level. In a powerful demonstration of unity and a deep collective concern for our communities, we are taking accountability for ensuring that African American boys achieve in school and succeed in life. MentoringBrothers.org utilizes the strength of technology and social media, powered by Big Brothers Big Sisters and its longstanding proven mentoring success, to engage African American men across the country to take the lead in changing the odds for our boys,” said Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. President Dr. Andrew A. Ray.
Two-year Progress Report with the African American Fraternity Partnership
Since launching the Big Brothers Big Sisters fraternity collaboration partnership, the mentoring network has enrolled at least 440 of the fraternities’ members as Big Brothers. (note:These numbers reflect fraternity members who self- identified during enrollment)(note:a process which differs from affiliate to affiliate. The organization continues to improve its enrollment information data collection processes and believe the actual numbers of fraternity members are greater than reported data reflect.)
Fraternity partnership members have joined Big Brothers Big Sisters national and local agencies as board members, agency leaders and staffers and are represented on the organization’s Nationwide Leadership Council.
The mentoring network’s fraternity partners have enlisted support from other National Pan-Hellenic Council member organizations for Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraisers, for example, bringing in over the past two years more than $15,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit; $10,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana; $30,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star and $5,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint (Michigan).
In the past two years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint (Michigan)’s annual Pan Hellenic Big Brothers Big Sisters Wine & Cheese Reception raised nearly $30,400 to support the agency’s “Power of 40” recruitment event. The fraternity partners provided Support to Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates during nationally syndicated urban radio host Michael Baisden’s One Million Mentors Campaign and Save Our Kids tour, which raised $95,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies and resulted in more than 500 volunteer inquiries. The inquiries resulted in 128 new volunteers who are currently in long-term mentoring matches (60 of them, men).
Through Operation Lamp Light, Omega Psi Phi is working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit to adopt a Detroit high school and build a relationship with a core group of 13- to 14-year-old boys. Some Omegas are spending one-to-one time with boys while the larger fraternity supports bimonthly workshops or field trips to museums and sporting events.
Through Rico’s Roundtable and Theta Omega Chapter’s Men of (Q)UALITY Program in Louisville & Big Brothers big Sisters of Kentuckiana have partnered to mentor boys as a part of their project to close the achievement gap between minority & majority students.
The fraternity partners held barbershop volunteer mentor recruiting drives, bringing African American male mentors to Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint (Michigan); Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland; and other Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates.
In an unprecedented move, Kappa Alpha Psi appointed 12 regional mentoring directors to oversee recruitment and retention of prospective Big Brothers. The fraternity is working to provide opportunities for Kappa “Littles” to benefit from its Kappa League program, which has launched the Diamonds in the Rough campaign, promoting greater access to college scholarships and standardized testing preparation.