More male mentors needed in St. Joe Co.

South Bend, Ind. Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Joseph County is in dire need of male mentors for the area boys they help serve.

There are more than 100 boys on the wait list for a "Big Brother," in part because only 30 percent of volunteers are men.

"The need is great and we would like more men to step forward and be mentors to these boys," said Deborah Burrow, Exec. Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Joseph County.

Several Community leaders came out to help promote the "100 Men in 100 Days" campaign to recruit more "bigs" for these kids.

"The more we get the word out, I think men will respond," Burrow said. "Men are carrying creatures just like women, so I think it's a matter of educating and letting men know of the great need out there."

South Bend Common Council Member Gavin Ferlic currently mentors two "Little Brothers."

"It's incredibly rewarding," Ferlic said, "As a mentor, if you can intervene at a critical moment in their lives you can really put them on a great path and put the community on a great path in terms of their future."

South Bend Police Chief Ron Teachman is also a proud "Big Brother." He agrees the program is a sustainable plan for reducing violence in the City's future.

"It's almost self-serving for a police chief to get involved with a program that benefits the crime issue in the city," Teachman said.

Teachman said the friendship can have a very unique role in a child's life.

"I don't have to judge him, I don't have to grade him," he said. "I'm not coaching him in a sport. I'm just there for him. And if people wonder if they have what it takes to be a 'Big Brother' and a mentor -- it's simply listen, care and just be there."

Interested applicants -- men and women -- can fill out an online application at www.becomeabig.net or call 574-232-9958.


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