More than 1,000 kids are wanting to join Big Brothers Big Sisters but group needs more volunteers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Big Brothers Big Sister of Central Indiana (BBBSCI) is asking for more volunteers to fulfill its mission in serving children in light of National Mentoring Month. There are 1,014 kids on the waitlist who want a big brother or sister.

Bridget Feeney, marketing coordinator for BBBSCI, told News 8 the organization has experienced a decrease in gifts and financial funding without being able to host critical in-person fundraising, but it hasn’t stopped them from matching kids to mentors.

BBBSCI has been hosting training sessions, interviews, events and activities virtually. There’s also safety guidelines in place to help mitigate risks when matches are together in-person.

Feeney said families have expressed wanting an additional positive role model in their lives and 76% of kids who are looking for a mentor are males 18 years old and under. The majority of them live on the eastside and most families have expressed wanting to be paired with a person of color.

Mentees are classified as “littles” within BBBSCI. The organization serves 64% of African-Americans, 20% Caucasian, 11% multi-racial, 4% Hispanics and 1% Asian “littles.”

Big brother Rico Francis and “little” 12-year-old Michael have been matched since last summer. Francis said they’ve connected virtually and in-person.

“I’ve wanted to join Big Brothers Big Sisters a year ago when I heard about them from Indy Hub, but I also come from a single mom so I understand how big of a role mentors can play in your life,” Francis said. “I definitely didn’t want to sign up for a program for a short-term commitment.”

The mentor mentioned the minimum commitment for pairs to interact is three to four hours a month. Francis said he also communicates with Michael’s parents.

“My passion is to support kids because I wouldn’t be here if if weren’t for my mentors. I wasn’t associated with an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters when I was growing up, but it would’ve been a huge benefit for me,” Francis said.