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Mentors Needed: Big Brothers Big Sisters Takes on New Frontier

HOUSTON, TX – May 20, 2013 - Big Brothers Big Sisters is taking youth mentoring and positive life impact to a new frontier. This upcoming 2013-14 school year, Houston high school students will be introduced to the mentor2.0 program.

mentor2.0 is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ new technology-enriched mentoring program that engages high school students in the classroom and online. The initiative maintains the fundamental one-to-one relationships, professional support and a focus on safety that is paramount to Big Brothers Big Sisters’ quality mentoring, all while adding guided email communications.

“The technology component allows for greater impact and volunteer flexibility,“ said Ron Hadley, Greater Houston President. “mentor2.0 appeals to students, our local school partners, and to a new, larger pool of volunteers. We are very excited about the growth potential in Houston.”

Houston is one of only five cities nationwide to launch mentor2.0 this fall - through a partnership with iMentor, a non-profit organization which provided the technology and program tools. The groundbreaking initiative will be offered at HISD’s John H. Reagan High School and KIPP Northeast College Preparatory. Teams are hard at work to have more than 200 new mentors ready for August.

“We are excited to be a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters' big step into the digital world by piloting mentor2.0.  We have learned it takes a great amount of time, support and care to help first generation children climb the mountain to and through college,” said Mike Feinberg, Co-Founder of KIPP.  “mentor2.0 is a way for more people to contribute their time, support, and care to help more children.”

Here’s how mentor2.0 works: Mentors and mentees use an interactive secure portal to follow a curriculum-based program administered by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff. Topics are geared toward providing support and guidance students need to graduate high school and succeed in college and the workforce.

Rather than Big Brothers Big Sisters’ traditional in-person time of two to four times a month, mentor2.0 offers weekly email communication with in-person time once every four to six weeks. People who may have thought they were too busy to participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters’ traditional programs are still able to make a positive impact on Houston’s youth.

Wells Fargo, AT&T, Ernst & Young are already serving as sponsors and helping recruit employee mentors. The Ed Rachal Foundation also donated funds to support to the program.

Anyone interested in being a mentor2.0 volunteer should fill out the online application. 

About Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring organization, holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as educational success; avoidance of risky behaviors; and higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships.  Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course.  The first-ever Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Summary, released in 2012, substantiates that its mentoring programs have proven, positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for youth, areas linked to high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency and college or job readiness.

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity, often those of single or low-income households or families where a parent is incarcerated or serving in the military, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.  This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 85-year history. Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star serves over 30,000 children, volunteers and families through 20 offices and over 100 counties in Texas. Learn how you can positively impact a child’s life - donate or volunteer at bbbstx.org.

About iMentor

iMentor builds mentoring relationships that empower students in low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions. Students work with their mentors one-on-one, in-person and online, to develop strong personal relationships, nurture a college aspiration, navigate the college application process, and build critical skills that lead to college success. In New York City, iMentor partners with public schools to ensure every student in the school receives a mentor. iMentor also provides its curriculum, technology, and best practices to nonprofits nationwide to help them run effective programs in the iMentor model. Since 1999, iMentor has connected 11,000 students with mentors. www.imentor.org

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