Philadelphia, PA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – PRNewswire)–March 10, 2008–An ambitious pilot program has reaped a 29 percent increase in the number of Hispanics served by Big Brothers Big Sisters over the course of a year. The increase in Hispanic matches – occurring in 15 participating Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in the U.S. where the program was piloted – is significant considering the average growth in matches among Big Brothers Big Sisters ’ 400+
agencies was eight percent during the same time period. Excited by the potential to impact even more Hispanic children, Big Brothers Big Sisters announced the hire of a director of Hispanic mentoring to lead the organization’s ambitious commitment to add another 10,000 Hispanic matches for a total of 50,000 across the country.
Sandra Delgado Searl, a marketer with experience that spans the globe, has been chosen to lead the call to action for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the oldest, largest and most effective youth mentoring organization in the country. Delgado Searl relocated from Shanghai, China before joining Big Brothers Big Sisters. In previous positions with J.D. Power Asia Pacific, SABMiller and ACNielsen, Delgado Searl has managed Hispanic marketing, and the development and execution of brand strategy.
“Sandra’s tremendous leadership and understanding of the Hispanic community make her the perfect choice to lead our highly focused Hispanic mentoring effort, which is currently one of our most effective strategies in growing matches – regardless of ethnicity, “said Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Independent research shows that young people who have Big Brothers and Big Sisters are more likely to stay in school and less likely to be involved in violence. Given the Hispanic population’s tremendous growth combined with disproportionate poverty and drop-out rates, a Big Brother or Big Sister can make a critical difference to the future of Hispanic children across the country. Yet with thousands of Hispanic “Littles” waiting to be matched with a caring Big Sister or Brother, the organization is in serious need of Hispanic volunteers to serve as “Bigs.”
“When Juan came to the United States as a youngster from El Salvador he felt totally alone. Memory of that sense of isolation was a driving factor in wanting to give back to a child facing a similar experience. After a year of being matched with Big Brother Juan, Little Brother Alberto of Harrisonburg Virginia blossomed out of shyness. In Phoenix, Little Brother Jose is grateful to Big Brother Pablo for his support during the death of both of his parents. In Lorain Ohio Little Sister Ariana turned bad grades around dramatically within only a few weeks of being matched with Big Sister Crystal,” said Delgado Searl. “These are a few of the countless examples of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ impact on children. Just imagine the impact of matching thousands more Hispanic children with mentors.”
Key to the growth in the number of Hispanic matches is the diversity of initiatives under the umbrella of the Hispanic Mentoring Program. For example, Big Brothers Big Sisters adapted its selection and matching process to the Hispanic culture and tested the new Hispanic mentoring model at a number of local agencies across the country. In addition, the organization formed a Hispanic advisory council, established strategic alliances with other Hispanic-focused organizations, increased bilingual and bicultural staffing, placed Hispanics in prominent roles in our national programming, and developed marketing materials targeted to Latinos.
The Hispanic Mentoring program has now grown to 30 participating Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in locations reflective of the Hispanic community’s diversity including Chicago, Illinois, Macon, Georgia, Portland, Oregon, Miami, Florida, Denver, Colorado and Fort Wayne, Indiana to name a few.
Support for the program is provided by The Goizueta Foundation; Jack in the Box Foundation; Cargill, Inc.; and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a component of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters, BigBrothersBigSisters.org, is the largest youth mentoring organization in the United States. With more than 400 affiliates across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, it served 255,000 children in 2007 – more than twice the number of five years ago. Independent research shows that its model of professionally supported one-to-one relationships between young people and their Big Brothers and Big Sisters has a measurable, positive impact. Children in the program are less likely to skip school, begin using alcohol and illegal drugs, and be involved in violence. Big Brothers Big Sisters works with policymakers and community leaders across the country to expand access to mentoring for children in need. The organization is currently focusing on recruiting Big Brothers, especially Hispanics and African Americans.