MetLife Foundation’s continued financial support of Big Brothers Big Sisters with a $500,000 grant will enable it to expand its services to meet the needs of Hispanic children and families. Since 2008, MetLife Foundation has contributed a total of $1.5 million, including this year’s grant, to Big Brothers Big Sisters to bring the benefits of its evidence-based mentoring services to the nation’s growing Hispanic population. Today’s grant will help 20 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies nationwide expand work with Hispanic youth and engage Hispanic parents in strengthening academic outcomes for their children.
“We’re extremely excited, as the new grant enhances our efforts to engage families; provide educational resources to address cultural gaps; provide critical education-system knowledge; and deliver resources to prepare mentees for college,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and Chief Executive Officer Karen J. Mathis. “We hold ourselves accountable for helping children who face adversity succeed in school, have greater aspirations and avoid delinquency and risky and behaviors to achieve lifelong success. This funding enables us to create and professionally support the one-to-one safe, strong, enduring mentoring relationships that contribute to these outcomes.”
While the 2011 grant focuses on family engagement and educational outcomes, it also will enable Big Brother Big Sisters agencies to continue to provide training sessions, communications strategies, and tools that help the mentoring organization go beyond simple translation to overcome language and cultural barriers to enhance their ability to provide its proven mentoring services to Latino children, families and volunteers. MetLife Foundation funding for Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Hispanic Mentoring program will support 20 local agencies’ work with more than 7,000 children nationwide.
“Regular interaction with caring adults is a vital part of young people’s development,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “We are pleased to expand our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters in bringing the benefits of its proven mentoring programs to the country’s growing Hispanic youth population and in engaging Hispanic parents in their children’s education.”
New Census Bureau data show that in the past ten years, the U.S. Latino population grew 43 percent and is now 16 percent of the total population, accounting for more than half the nation’s population growth since 2000. Big Brothers Big Sisters developed its Hispanic Mentoring program after learning through qualitative research that to better serve Hispanic children, families and volunteers, the organization must be more culturally-sensitive in the delivery of its services. Today, Hispanic children represent about 18 percent of the children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters nationwide.