Big Brothers, Big Sisters Delaware receives record donation
Big Brothers, Big Sisters Delaware is hoping a big donation can make a big difference in the community.
Philanthropist Mackenzie Scott recently donated a record $900,000 to the youth mentoring organization with the goal of helping it increase outreach efforts and expand its programs.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters Delaware faces a desperate need for mentors. Over 100 young people are waiting to be matched.
The pandemic is partly to blame - restricting mentors’ contact with the young people and limiting outreach for new mentors. It also increased the need for mentors as more young people faced trauma.
Mentors do not have to be experts, but they do need to undergo an extensive screening process to assure the safety of the children in the program.
The group’s Director of Development and Communications Aaron Karpas says mentorship is very rewarding- though it’s hard to put into words the feeling that it brings.
“When you can really influence a child’s life and see them smile and experience some things that they would not have experienced if it wasn’t for you- it all sums it up,” explained Karpas.
In addition to finding new mentors to fill the current need, Karpas says the donation is also expected to expand the organization's programs aimed at engaging more young people in new ways.
One program they hope to expand is their LGBTQ Outreach Initiative.
“We do recognize the unique challenges facing the youth of this community,” said Karpas. “Half of which are at-risk of skipping school because they’re feeling unsafe and experiencing verbal harassment, suicidal thoughts and a general feeling of hopelessness, drug use, criminal behavior, and so on.”
The initiative aims to engage LGBTQ youth in community one-to-one mentoring relationships to help them safely confront these challenges and promote both a positive life, and educational outcomes.
More information on Big Brothers, Big Sisters Delaware and how to get involved, can be found at bbbsde.org.