MetLife Foundation presented Big Brothers Big Sisters with a grant of $500,000 to expand its work with young people among the country’s growing Hispanic population. The grant – MetLife Foundation’s fourth since 2008 – brings the total support for the Hispanic Mentoring Program to $2 million.
The presentation came during Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities’ third annual Celebracion’de Amistad Health & Education Fair. The Twin Cities agency is one of 20 Big Brothers Big Sisters of America affiliates nationwide receiving MetLife Foundation funding to provide mentoring services to more than 22,000 Latino children, families and volunteers.
“Family engagement events like Celebracion’de Amistad are a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Hispanic mentoring service,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Chief Diversity Officer Hector Cortez. “MetLife Foundation funding enables our local agencies to engage Hispanic mentees’ families in programs that promote high-school graduation and college. In addition, the grants fund training sessions, communications strategies, and tools that enable our staff to overcome language and cultural barriers to provide safe, long-term outcomes-based, professionally supported mentoring services to Latino children, families and volunteers.”
Today, nearly 20 percent of the children served by the national mentoring network are Hispanic, an increase from 14 percent in 2008. Big Brothers Big Sisters developed its Hispanic Mentoring Program using qualitative research about how Latinos view mentoring and volunteering in the context of family and culture.
“Mentoring programs between children and adult role models are a vital part of a young person’s development,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “MetLife Foundation is proud of our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters. The Hispanic Mentoring Program not only benefits children across the country, but helps engage parents and the community in their education and development.”
Children enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters face many forms of adversity, including growing up in low income and/or single parent families; having an incarcerated parent; or having a parent in the military. Independent research finds when compared to children from similar backgrounds, Big Brothers Big Sisters mentees improve in school; make healthier choices and have higher self-esteem and aspirations.