Big Brothers Big Sisters Dealing With Significant Volunteer Disparity

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – Nationwide, Big Brothers Big Sisters is dealing with a volunteer shortage and one local chapter is addressing this issue by calling on others.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts (BBBSEM) says they have a growing list of children waiting to be matched with a mentor for their one-to-one programs. However, there is a glaring disparity delaying the matchmaking process.

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BBBSEM says more than three times as many boys are waiting for mentors as girls. With not enough mentors to take them off the list, President and CEO Mark O’Donnell said the number of boys waiting has reached the hundreds.

“Over 75% percent of our mentees come from single-parent households, a majority of which only have a mother or female guardian looking for a consistent and caring male role model in their children’s lives,” O’Donnell said. “We need male-identifying volunteers, men of color, and all volunteers fluent in Spanish to seriously consider signing up to be a mentor for these children.”

The organization is making the push incredibly known this time of year because January is National Mentoring Month, but they have been struggling to fill volunteer spots since the start of the pandemic.

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Since March 2020, the organization completed nearly 800 new matches virtually. In 2022, BBBSEM hopes to pair up more than 750 new mentors and mentees. O’Donnell, a former Big Brother, said this experience can be mutually beneficial.

“I’ve been a Big twice,” O’Donnell said. “I can tell you from firsthand experience that most Bigs will say that they’ve gotten more out of it than the Little has.”

The organization said they need about 1,000 mentors by June. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older and must be able to commit a few times a month for a couple of hours for at least a year to be actively involved. More information can be found online.

WBZ’s Brooke McCarthy (@BrookeWBZ) has more:

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