We at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island (“BBBSLI”) know that there truly is magic in mentoring! A good mentor will shine light on a child’s gifts and lift that child high enough to reach their dreams. For over four decades, our special mission at BBBSLI has been to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth in our local communities. Through thousands of BBBSLI success stories, we have demonstrated that when we pair a child or teen facing adversity (our “LITTLES”) with a nurturing, consistent, professionally supported adult mentor (our “BIGS”) and give that youth the tools and emotional support to achieve, we can change the trajectory of their lives. In the absence of a naturally occurring mentor, the structured mentoring relationships we provide enable at-risk youth to meet key milestones and in turn build pathways to a bright future.
WHAT IS MENTORSHIP?
Mentorship is the act or process of having influence or giving guidance and support to a less experienced and often younger person. A mentor is the person who provides the influence, guidance, and support for their mentee; they take the time to get to know their mentee and the challenges they face and in turn use their experience and understanding to help. At BBBSLI, our mentors or BIGS serve as role models, friends, and advocates for their LITTLES who are all at-risk youths in need of additional support from a nurturing and consistent adult in their lives.
THE VALUE OF MENTORSHIP
At BBBSLI we use mentorship to open a child’s eyes to what is and in turn open their mind to what could be. A child’s start in life does not have to dictate their end; through intervention, impactful mentoring, and the gift of opportunity, EVERY child has the potential to achieve! The introduction of a devoted BIG into the life of a child or teen facing adversity is a catalyst for hope and achievement and a deterrent for the desolation and self-destruction that often afflict at-risk youth. Our LITTLES have more positive life outcomes, including academic achievement, workforce success, mental health, positive self-concept, and will be more likely to avoid destructive behaviors (e.g., drug/alcohol use, violence, criminal behavior, excessive school absences, and quitting school). This brings us closer to our vision which is that all youth, regardless of adversities faced, achieve their full potential by growing into resilient, self-sufficient, healthy adults. By changing the course of young lives, we alter the course of a community’s future which leads to a reduction in poverty/unemployment, safer schools and neighborhoods, and a renewed optimism for growth.
HOW DO OUR MENTORSHIP PROGRAMS WORK?
LITTLES can be matched with a BIG from ages 7-16 years. Those with enduring BIG/LITTLE relationships or “Matches” may participate in our mentoring programs, Match enrichment activities, and extensive support services until they are 21 years old. Through our mentoring programs, each BIG makes an initial one-year commitment and meets with their LITTLE at least twice a month for 2-4 hours of bonding through fun activities and quality time together in local communities. Consistency is key in the Match relationship and in time our Littles truly benefit from the weekly support and guidance their BIG provides. Eventually the goal is that the LITTLE looks forward to the time and conversations shared with their BIG, and in turn, spending quality time together leads to the development of an enduring and meaningful relationship. Whether it be heading to the movies, playing at the park, grabbing a slice of pizza or doing homework at the library, every moment spent together can make a BIG impact!
The impact of mentorship is without bounds; it offers every child the opportunity to reach his or her full potential, both as individuals and members of our Long Island community.
Are YOU interested in giving the gift of mentorship to a Long Island child in need?
Complete an application to become a mentor today!