Jessica is like hundreds of single moms in this county; working hard and wanting a better life for her eleven year old son, Nicolas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 40 percent of the babies born in the U.S. are born to unmarried mothers and that’s more than doubled since 1980. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) report on U.S. Children in Single Mother Families indicates these children face many barriers to success, but Jessica says she refuses to have her family become part of the negative statistics. To beat the odds, Jessica enrolled Nicolas in Big Brothers Big Sisters, but he has been waiting three years for the agency to match him with the right mentor.
Nicolas is one of approximately 40 children, mostly boys, on Big Brothers Big Sisters’ “waiting to be matched” lists. The challenge is two-fold. One: a need for funds that cover the costs of the professional, ongoing match support provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters. This includes extensive and thorough background checks and consistent and ongoing mentoring guidance for Bigs, Littles and their families to ensure each mentoring match is safe, successful, and long-term. Secondly, most adults who volunteer to mentor are women.
Independent studies and Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Survey™ data find the children enrolled in unique one-to-one long-term mentoring programs are more likely than their peers to improve in school, their behavior and their self-esteem. Understandably, moms like Jessica take on the burden of waiting for a Big in a very personal way.
“He’s very active in sports,” says Jessica. “When he does something exceptional at school, which is all the time, I wish he had someone that he could go and just tell, ‘Look what I did today!’ or ‘Come and watch me play. Let’s hang out.’ For this Mother’s Day, one of the biggest gifts would be a Big Brother for my son Nicolas.”
Jessica chokes through the tears as she shares her feelings about Nicolas having to wait for a Big Brother, “When he asks what’s going on with his Big Brother, I feel as if I’m doing something wrong; as if there’s something I’m not filling in his life.”
Your donation will increase Big Brothers Big Sisters’ capacity to serve Nicolas and so many children like him – those who are enrolled and waiting – and so many others whom studies find can benefit from one-to-one long-term mentoring. To support Big Brothers Big Sisters’ first Mother’s Day Month campaign, please donate what you can; record a short video telling us why you donated and upload it to our Facebook page. You can also send a Mother’s Day Month campaign e-card to your friends, encouraging them to do the same.