SAN DIEGO, CA. (April 1, 2018) — San Diego, CA: Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County (BBBS of SDC) is excited to announce the expansion of their “Bigs in Blue” program, which pairs police officers in one-to-one mentoring relationships with children in the communities they serve. The program now called, “Bigs with Badges”, will include all law enforcement agencies. Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 7 through 18, in communities across the county. They develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
The program was launched in June 2017, in partnership with the San Diego Police Department and STAR/PAL, and will now expand to include SDC Sheriff, CHP, Coronado Police and SD Harbor Police. BBBS of SDC plans to continue to build new partnerships with all branches of law enforcement to better serve children throughout the county. Through this expansion, Big Brothers Big Sisters hopes to serve more of the children, primarily boys, who are currently on its wait-list for mentors, now up to almost 400 boys across San Diego County.
Sheriff Gore of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said, “Youth mentorship is a richly rewarding, life changing experience not only for the youth but for the men and women who give themselves to this program. Bigs with Badges helps to develop confident and competent youth and helps our staff become more engaged with the communities they serve. Public safety is a shared responsibility between the public and the police and this is an important part of that partnership.”
Bigs with Badges is the first national campaign of its kind, supplementing the efforts of law enforcement officers mentoring youth in communities across the country. Officers will have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child by volunteering their time, at least twice a month for a year or more. Big Brothers Big Sisters believes that by fostering understanding, Bigs with Badges will improve community relations one meaningful relationship at a time.
“We know that mentoring helps children overcome obstacles and reach their potential, and we believe it can play a role in building understanding and bridging divides throughout our community,” said S. Wayne Kay, CEO of BBBS of SDC. “Our goal is to match at least 25 law-enforcement professionals with under-served youth in one-to-one mentoring relationships in the first year of the program.”
Local supporters Wells Fargo Bank and ESET, along with grant funding from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, provided financial support which cover the initial costs of volunt
eer recruitment efforts and training; the process of matching mentees (“Littles”) with mentors (“Bigs”); and ongoing professional support for volunteers, children, and their families.
“For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been fostering friendships that bring communities closer together,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters President and CEO Pam Iorio. “Bigs with Badges makes it possible for positive outcomes for the children, the officers, and communities.”
In collaboration with community officials and local law enforcement departments, Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates are starting similar programs in cities across the United States, including Austin; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Los Angeles; Louisville; New York City; Omaha; Orlando; Philadelphia; Tampa; Roanoke, Virginia; and Columbia, South Carolina. With more than 300 affiliates nationwide, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is actively fundraising to bring the initiative to as many communities as possible.
To learn more, visit SDBigs.org/BigswithBadges.