The City of Atlanta is calling on you, if you have a few extra hours to spare each month.
As a part of Atlanta’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the city has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta (BBBS) to help find mentors for Atlanta boys ages 6 and 14 who are currently on a waiting list to be matched. There are currently 400 young men waiting overall with 100 of them in Atlanta proper.
“As the mother of three boys, I know how important it is for youth in our communities to see and engage with positive male role models” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said. “It is up to all of us to create the kind of city that we want to live in and I am confident that the men of Atlanta – be they barbers, teachers, city employees, public officials, corporate executives, athletes, entertainers and every occupation in between – will answer the call to help us create a city where our boys see and believe that they can become anything they dream of being.”
As part of the One Atlanta vision, the city is working to expand opportunities to residents, and Atlanta’s youth in particular. This partnership with the City of Atlanta is a first for BBBS of Metro Atlanta which has thus far held three “MENformational” events, the last of which will be Aug. 7 at City Hall. Potential “Bigs” must be over the age of 21 and able to commit to meeting with their “Little” a few times a month for at least one year.
“We’ve already had an influx of potential Big Brothers coming in for the first steps in our process,” said BBBS of Metro Atlanta President and CEO, Kwame Johnson. “Our initial goal is to match the boys we have on our waiting list in the city of Atlanta [with mentors]. Through this partnership, we can help defend the potential of students that are seeking a Big Brother mentor to help them navigate life.”
“At its core, the Office of One Atlanta exists to avail resources to residents who have not had an equitable chance to participate in the attributes that make Atlanta an attractive city to so many,” said Bill Hawthorne, chief equity officer of the City of Atlanta. “The people of Atlanta are our city’s greatest resource. We are therefore proud to serve as a connector of the men who make this city move, with the boys who will grow up and move Atlanta into the future.”
Earlier this year, Hawthorne and other city officials met with leaders from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta. Upon learning about the 100 boys who live in Atlanta who were waiting to be matched with mentors, Bottoms committed to amplifying the importance and the impact of the work of the organization which has been a community institution in the city for 59 years.
“Our vision is that all youth achieve their potential and we create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth,” said Johnson. “This is evident in our program statistics. In 2018, 97% of our children served avoided the juvenile justice system, 88% of our high school seniors graduated on time, and 93% of graduating seniors reported plans to pursue post-secondary education or the military.”
BBBS of Metro Atlanta’s current average match length is 29.5 months
“I personally know the impact of mentorship and I am excited that Mayor Bottoms is offering the support of her administration to help more young boys reach their full potential. Our hope is that the men who have stepped up to become Big Brothers will continue that relationship throughout the child’s life.”
– Katrice L. Mines