Big Brothers Big Sisters opens new mentoring center
Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania (BBBS SEPA) celebrated its 100-year anniversary with a ribbon cutting for its new office and initiative, the Mentoring Partnership & Resource Center (MRPC).
The event included remarks from state and city leaders like Mayor Michael Nutter, Senator Pat Toomey, and Congressman Chaka Fattah, BBBS SEPA staff, and BBBS SEPA “Little” and Mighty Writer, Zoie Thomas, as well as a ribbon cutting for the new MPRC in Center City.
The center is designed to serve more children by helping other youth mentoring programs improve their practices. The MPRC will collaborate with nonprofit organizations in the area to enhance the effectiveness of mentoring programs.
“We currently serve 3,200 children per year, but the MPRC will allow us to touch the approximate 135 nonprofits in Greater Philadelphia involved in youth mentoring and help serve more than 200,000 children in need in our region,” Marcus Allen, CEO and executive director of BBBS SEPA, said.
The center’s initiative will target the four pillars of service: training and technical assistance, stakeholder engagement, advocacy, and data collection, to help grow mentoring programs in the region.
“I was a beneficiary of this program,” Congressman Chaka Fattah said. “My mom was raising six boys. My father died and was in the military. She turned this organization to make sure that we had appropriate guidance and help as we travelled down life’s highway. So whatever I’ve done, in so many important ways, it was through the fact that this organization existed.”
The MPRC will offer different types of mentoring such as group mentoring, natural/organic mentoring, peer mentoring e-mentoring and one-to-one mentoring.
“The data shows that this program works. And that kids get all kinds of great outcomes when they participate in this program,” Senator Pat Toomey said. “Kids that are in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program are less likely to skip school, less likely to be involved in a violent altercation, less likely to use alcohol and less likely to use drugs.”
“We have to step up as a city. Let us be mentors as city. I’m not talking about the city government. Certainly I want to encourage my public employees to do that. But as the city proper, let us be actively engaged and involved in their lives in a meaningful way,” Mayor Michael Nutter said. “I’m not asking you to take on a new job but it is certainly a part of our responsibility as citizens in City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. There’s no better thing that we should be doing.”