Together since 2004 when Terrence was just 8 years old, Bill is a 67-year old man, and Terrence is a 16-year old from a single parent home. The two have been matched for eight years, spending time with each other going out to eat, checking out local sporting events and talking on the phone. Bill also attends many of Terrence’s track meets and football games, and he provided assistance for Terrence to be able to attend a national track meet last summer.
Terrence’s mother, who has her hands full with three other children, credits Bill’s influence for helping to turn Terrence’s life around. She’s watched her son, who runs track and plays football, improve his grades from C’s and D’s to A’s and B’s.
“Without the support of [Bill], my son would likely be in jail,” says Terrence’s mom.
Bill and Terrence say they will continue to spend time together even though their official match support through Big Brothers Big Sisters ends this year when Terrence turns 16.
*Names have been changed.
January is National Mentoring Month -- a time to celebrate the work of mentoring organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) in bringing together people like Bill and Terrence in successful mentoring relationships. National Mentoring Month is a nationwide initiative to call attention to the need for mentors in communities like the Lowcountry. Big Brothers Big Sisters of CYDC is the local affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the oldest and most effective youth mentoring organization in the country.
In addition to a need for African American male mentors, Big Brothers Big Sisters of CYDC also has an urgent and ongoing need for financial support of its programs. It takes about $1,000 a year to provide each Big-Little match with the volunteer training, match management, and match support that are the hallmarks of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. An investment in Big Brothers Big Sisters pays off BIG for the Lowcountry -- compared to their peers, matched youth are 52% less likely to skip school and 54% less likely to get arrested.
Youth served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are primarily children of single, low-income or incarcerated parents, or they are in military families or are coping with other challenges.
“We hold ourselves accountable for the proven youth outcomes that are unique to Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs, including academic achievement; avoidance of risky and delinquent behaviors; and higher self esteem and aspirations,” said Barbara Kelley Duncan, CEO of Carolina Youth Development Center.
“Our committed board, volunteer leaders, and program and mentoring staff work with parents, volunteer mentors, donors and partners from the diverse communities we serve to give children who face adversity every opportunity to succeed. National Mentoring Month is a time to pay tribute to the Big Brothers Big Sisters village and to encourage others to Start Something to extend our reach.”
For more information on how you can get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center, click here to visit our website.