Big Brothers Big Sisters in need of male mentors
The city of South Bend wants a few good men to help keep the city safe. You've heard of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Now, the city is trying to help find people who can make a difference.
It's the 100 Men in 100 Days campaign. Between now and October, the organization hopes to attract 100 male volunteers. Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Joseph County is in major need of male role models.
Joseph Fisher is having a blast, spending time with one of his best friends.
"It's really fun, we do a bunch of stuff and everything, we go swimming and wrestle around and stuff," he said.
Joseph is Steve Gerber's "little brother." Ever since they were matched more than a year ago, Steve has been someone Joseph can turn to for guidance.
"I just hope to give him a good impression of what it's like to have a male role model and somebody to hang out with and do fun stuff with and just kind of teach him that interaction and what it's like and just help him grow emotionally," Steve said.
The two joined other St. Joseph County big and little brothers at a local bowling alley. It was all part of the 100 Men in 100 Days campaign. The organization needs more men to step up to the plate. The executive director says more than 80% of kids on the waiting list are boys, but only three out of ten interested volunteers are men.
"I can't tell you how many kids I've met in the course of my work," said South Bend Chief of Poice Ron Teachman. "I have yet to meet a child who has too many adults who care of them. I don't think anybody has, what I have met are many children who have too few adults who care about them."
Without a good male role model, city leaders say those young men are more likely to turn to a life of crime.
"Mentoring has been demonstrated to have an incredible positive effect on a child's education, but also it decreases violent behavior and decreases a child's chance of using drugs or alcohol so you've really got the opportunity to capture young at-risk youth at a time when they can really go one of two directions, they can take the right take or the wrong path," said Gavin Ferlic, South Bend Common Council At-Large Member.
It's the kind of positive influence Steve has on his "little brother." And one he hopes to have for a long time.
If you're interested in becoming a "big brother," visit www.becomeabig.net or call (574) 232-9958.