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Board of Supervisors Recognizes Big Brothers Big Sisters with Proclamation

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors recently recognized Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Barbara County for its work in mentoring at-risk youth with a proclamation announcing January 2015 as Mentoring Month.

Locally, Big Brothers Big Sisters is a program of the Family Service Agency.

Because January marks the 14th annual National Mentoring Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters is participating locally through its Something Big campaign, which aims to recruit 30 mentors and 30 sponsors in 30 days.

The proclamation reads, in part: “Whereas, mentoring programs are effective in combating school violence and discipline problems, substance abuse, incarceration and truancy and are a proven cost-effective investment: for every $1 invested in mentoring, there is a $4.70 return to society. Yet despite these benefits, one in three youth will reach age 19 without a mentor — constituting a “mentoring gap” that demonstrates a need for collaboration and resources.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters is recognized as the single most effective prevention-based mentoring program in the United States. At-risk children ages 6 to 15 are carefully matched with caring adult mentors, who help them reach their full potential trough one-to-one relationships built on trust, friendship, consistency, support, and guidance. In a recent national report titled The Mentoring Effect, it has been determined that young people who are mentored show improvements academically, socially and economically. These types of improvements are a direct result of the investment in our most valuable resource, our community’s children, which will lead to stronger and safer communities.

The public is invited to participate in the Start Something Big campaign by visiting sbbigs.org.

— Melinda Johansson is the marketing manager for the Family Service Agency.

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