One of the core values that has guided Macro Connect’s impact on Detroit is “Community Minded.” Our team members live that out by choosing a local non-profit organization and volunteering at least 5 hours every month. With a team of 24 employees, that will add up to over 1,400 hours of service in 2020. Each employee has the freedom to choose their own organization, but we all end up pitching in with each other throughout the year for various causes. To further our goal of supporting the community, we also wanted to dedicate some of our blog to acknowledging and celebrating those organizations that are doing great work in the Detroit community.
One of those organizations, and the focus of this post, is called Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Metropolitan Detroit. This is where Macro Connect Client Solutions Specialist, Adam Letica, dedicates his time and he’s excited to help more people learn about BBBS’s mission and impact on mentorship in Detroit.
What Is Big Brothers Big Sisters?
BBBS is on a mission “to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.”
The local Detroit chapter of BBBS is one of 300 national chapters known as “affiliates” or “agencies.” BBBS of Metro Detroit was formed in 1974 when five local BBBS organizations merged. As a combined entity, BBBS of Metro Detroit is the largest one-to-one, evidence-based mentoring organization in Southeast Michigan, serving almost 1,000 youngsters every year.
Programming is divided into two categories: Site-Based and Community-Based.
Site-based programs happen either at a school or at a mentor’s workplace. Children share about an hour-long lunch with their mentor twice every month. BBBS partners with a school and a corporation with the intention of matching 15-25 youth per school with mentors. The organization also develops a curriculum of activities for mentors and mentees to work on during their lunch meetings. This helps the youth experience the dynamics of a real workplace environment so they can start forming a vision of their own future.
Community-based programs are BBBS’s most well-known mentorship model that matches youth with adults based on shared interests. Mentors and Mentees meet twice a month for at least two hours at a time and enjoy a planned activity together. They also work toward specific goals, ranging from academic achievement to social skills.
For each adult/youth pair, BBBS provides a support specialist who ensures the safety of the child. The match support specialist also provides valuable guidance for the match and makes sure the match stays in compliance with BBBS rules and regulations.
How Does BBBS Help Kids?
BBBS is effective. Very effective. And that’s largely because its programming is rooted in evidence-based practices. Their mentoring model is certified by multiple federal government departments as an “Effective evidence-based model in realizing positive outcomes for youth.”
To prove it, BBBS conducts an annual survey about five key performance indicators:
- Scholastic Achievement: Are you getting better grades, do you have more confidence, and do you have higher expectations?
- Trust: Do you have better relationships with peers and adults?
- Risky Behavior: Are you less likely to fight, do drugs, or skip school?
- Adult Relationship: Do you have a relationship with an adult that expresses concern for you, challenges you, and empowers you?
- Future: Do you believe you can be successful in the future?
Over 92% of children involved in BBBS programs said yes to every category, with some as high as 96% or even 100%. And 100% of youth said they saw improvements in at least three of the categories.
Adam’s Journey with BBBS
As we mentioned, Macro Connect Client Solutions Specialist, Adam Letica, chose to start working with BBBS in 2019 as part of his commitment to the community. As a big brother, Adam spends several hours each month just having fun with his little brother. They like to go to explore new parks and jungle gyms, splash at the water park, dance to Rihanna songs, and do gymnastics (even in the snow!). They’re not really the sit-still types.
What’s most important to Adam, and other Big Brothers and Sisters out there, is spending time with their littles to demonstrate and foster the life skills necessary to succeed. He also models what it means to be a reliable, caring adult who is invested in his little brother’s life. There are sadly a lot of kids in the Metro Detroit area or beyond that deal with adverse childhood experiences. When children are dealing with adverse situations, having caring, supportive adults in their life is the key to changing a youth’s life for the better, forever.
The relationship has also helped Adam remember what it’s like to be a kid again.
“My little brother is a constant reminder to be grateful for the little things in life. Whether that’s playing on the swing-set, chasing friends, or making goofy faces. I think I learn as much, if not more, from my little brother than he does from me. We make a good team”.
“I used to think leadership and mentorship were confined to the workplace, but after being involved with BBBS I see that this applies to the communities we live in as well. Having the opportunity to make an impact on the youth of our community, and helping them achieve their goals, has brought me immense joy.”
Get Involved in the Community
Macro Connect employees dedicate hours every month to a wide range of incredible non-profit organizations around the city of Detroit. BBBS is a fantastic example and we think it’s a great option if you’re looking to get more involved yourself. Of course, we’re not endorsing it at the expense of anyone else, but we have seen, first-hand, the strong positive impact BBBS is making on our youth.
Are you ready to take the next step? You can become a mentor, work as a volunteer, or donate to the organization. Reach out to BBBS on the phone at (313) 309-9227 or on their website.
Hope to see you out there, making a difference in Detroit’s future!