Bigs in Blue initiative: Officers Giving back, mentoring youth in our community

To defend youth’s potential with one-to-one mentoring that positively impacts their lives forever.

100% of our cause focuses on unmet needs in the community. On July 7, 2016, a lone gunman opened fire at a peaceful protest in Dallas, taking the lives of 5 officers who strive every day to keep us safe. While our community has begun to heal from this devastating attack, targeted attacks on those that protect us continue to occur. Developing a strategy to positively connect our officers with the community members they serve, especially those who feel who feel disenfranchised, is key. To support our community in these efforts, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) launched the Bigs in Blue (BiB) initiative. The initiative utilizes our one-to-one mentoring program to connect youth to police, and other civic employees, building strong, trusting, and lasting relationships.

BBBS’ one-to-one mentoring program model is unlike any other. Youth (mentees) in our community are paired with volunteers within our community (mentors) and build strong, safe and trusting relationships. Our BiB initiative has the support and participation of city officials such as Dallas City Manager, T.C. Broadnax, Dallas Police Chief, Renee Hall, Irving Police Chief, Jeff Spivey, along with 125 other uniformed personnel already enrolled in the program. A generous grant of $25,000 would allow BBBS to further recruit, enroll, and match law enforcement officers and city employees into our BiB Program, providing 20 youth on our waitlist with a caring, supportive, mentor. With over 800 at-risk youth on our wait list to be matched, the need for supportive volunteers is high and continuing to grow. Creating more BiB matches meets two needs in our community: 1) connects youth with a supportive adult who will defend their potential; and 2) builds empathy between law enforcement and youth.

BiB has proven to have a profound, impact and has expanded into surrounding cities, creating lasting partnerships to further recruit mentors into the program. The BiB Summit invites area leaders to discuss the importance of mentoring and support that BiB initiative has for community policing. Mentoring is simple: providing guidance and friendship, but its impact is profound. Mentors can change child’s life trajectory by helping them learn new skills, form positive relationships, talk through challenges, gain self-esteem, and fulfill their potential. All children benefit from mentoring. Our programs have proven results; 98% of mentored youth move to the next grade, stay out of the juvenile justice system, and/or maintain or improve their attitudes toward risky behavior; 95% maintain or increase scholastic competency. These outcomes help develop our youth to become future leaders and influencers in our community creating a stronger, smarter, safer place for future generations to flouri