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Big Brothers Big Sisters needs mentors of color

Feb. 17—From April 25-27, the lives of young men will change forever during the 2024 NFL Draft being held around Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza in Detroit, Mich.

In collaboration with the NFL's Inspire Change initiative, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butler County has launched the Big Draft, an annual volunteer recruitment campaign to encourage more volunteers, particularly male volunteers, to become mentors, or Bigs.

The campaign is inspired by the NFL Draft as BBBS of Butler County will draft its next class of Bigs to reach more youth on the waiting list for a mentor in Butler County, with a goal of recruiting 80 Bigs in 60 days, said Jessica Huentelman, director of marketing and recruitment for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butler County.

She said one in three kids in America is growing up without a sustained, positive adult mentor in their lives. The gap between mentorship and youth who need it most continues to widen due to perceived barriers of the time and expertise needed to become a mentor, according to Huentelman.

The need for youth mentorship is critical in Butler County with over 150 kids waiting to be matched with their Big, she said.

Though some of those watching to be matched don't include race on their application, it appears about 25% are children of color, according to Huentelman. BBBS is looking for the next class of Bigs to address the need for more mentors of color in the community, she said.

Butler County CEO Scott Stephens said when a child on the waitlist gets 'selected' for a Big Brother or Big Sister, it's "a life changing day for them. They get matched with a caring adult who listens to them, spends quality time together and we hope a lifelong friendship develops."

Two years ago, Garrett, who works for Procter & Gamble, was matched with Demetrian, of Middletown.

Garrett, 33, had a friend who was a Big Brother and the program sounded "really cool," he said.

"I couldn't be happier," he said.

Garrett, a huge sports fan, and Demetrian, who plays several sports, meet periodically and they have attended a Cincinnati Bengals game, ridden go karts, bowled, played basketball in the park and went to Top Golf and Dave & Busters.

He also has attended Demetrian's sporting events.

Garrett said his role is to be Demetrian's friend and be there if he has any questions.

"He's a buddy of mine and we have a good time," said Garrett, who's married to Erin and they have an 8-month old son, Jack.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS

Visit bbbsbutler.org or call Jessica Huentelman, director of marketing & recruitment, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butler County, 513-867-1227, Ext 141 or email: Jessica.huentelman@bbbsbutler.org.

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