Demand skyrocketing for Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors

Press Staff Writer

        Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio (BBBSNWO) is launching a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $50,000 to help more children.
        The campaign named, “A Little Bit,” aims to motivate people to give whatever they can to help BBBSNWO serve kids in Northwestern Ohio who need adult mentorship now more than ever.
        “With the negative emotional and financial impact of COVID-19 over the last 18 months, we’ve been experiencing a dramatic increase in match requests from families, while contending with reduced donations at the same time,” said Dr. Marvin Whitfield, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio.
        “Funding is even more of an issue now than it was in 2020 as we tapped into our reserves to keep things going during the height of the pandemic,” said Dr. Marie Bush, BBBSNWO board chair. “Meanwhile, the number of kids who need our services has grown exponentially.”
        While all of BBBSNWO’s programs are fully funded, there is a short-term cash flow challenge. The organization will be receiving funds later in the year and is seeking the community’s help in the short-term to help raise $50,000 to be able to support more children during this particularly tough time.
        All proceeds from GoFundMe will go towards the cost of matching and monitoring Bigs and Littles, which costs $1,800 per match.
        As the only one-to-one youth mentoring organization of its kind in Northwest Ohio, Big Brothers Big Sisters provides programming that helps children improve in school, avoid risky and delinquent behaviors, and achieve higher self-esteem and aspirations.
        In March 2020, BBBSNWO enhanced its capabilities to include virtual mentoring and other services in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
        As a result of pandemic-related hardships, including remote schooling and COVID-19 learning loss, BBBSNWO has seen a 65% increase in requests for Bigs and a 75% increase in requests for Bigs to help with tutoring.
        “We currently have several hundred Littles in Lucas and Wood counties waiting to be matched with a Big,” said Dr. Bush.  “Getting the community to help through this GoFundMe will go a long way towards meeting the need.”
        Any amount can have a real impact on a child’s life. For example:
        • $30 covers the cost of an in-person or online Match meeting––the first step in a life-changing relationship between a Big and Little
        • $50 funds the monthly support calls between BBBSNWO staff and one match (Big, Little, and Caregiver)
        • $100 allows two staff members to conduct one in-person, school-based session
        • $150 pays for three group orientation and training sessions via Zoom, preparing Bigs for their vital role as mentors
        • $300 ($25/month) provides six online youth enrichment activities for Matches led by BBBSNWO staff
        • $350 buys an iPad used by the kids in M3 programming to allow for a highly interactive experience while social distancing
        • $500 ($42/month) allows trained staff to complete 60 wellness calls, connecting vulnerable families with critical resources
        • $750 fully funds one month of match activities of every current participant in our Bigs in Blue/Bigs in Badges program
        • $1,800 ($134/month) sparks the life of a young person by providing them with a professionally supported mentoring relationship for one year
        To donate to the “A Little Bit” GoFundMe, visit or visit @BBSNWO on Facebook. To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio or to become a mentor, visit call 419-243-4600.


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