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'Men to Mentor': Big Brothers Big Sisters push for more male mentors in Johnson County

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Posted at 11:36 PM, Sep 28, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — There's a long wait for mentors, especially for boys in one central Indiana County. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana (BBBSCI) is trying to meet that demand, through a new campaign.

"Me and my roommate walked out of Victory Field last year, and I was like, I want to do that," Brian Dickinson, Corporate Partnerships Manager with BBBSCI said.

An event in Indianapolis last September ended up having a much bigger impact on Dickinson.

"Just hearing the stories, and there was one that was three generations of matches that really won me over," Dickinson said.

Dickinson was matched with his little and eventually started working at BBBSCI.

"This isn't just a benefit for these littles. Obviously, that's the biggest impact you see, but as a Big for almost a year now, I've been impacted in a great way," Dickinson said.

His work through the organization sparked a huge campaign, "Men to Mentor," efforting 75 men in 75 days to become a mentor, specifically targeting Johnson County.

"There are around 100 kids waiting. Which is just the most we've seen in quite a while. A lot of them are boys, but we've just seen that number grow and grow," Dickinson said.

"When I think about the fact that we are not able to meet that demand all the time, it does make me sad," Charles Stringer, Volunteer Coordinator, BBBSCI, said.

BBBSCI said it has a waiting list in all counties it serves. But a child on the Marion County waiting list will likely get a match within a year.

A child in Johnson County who is looking at an average wait time of around two years — if not more.

"We match within 20 minutes of where you live or work. And what our program is, is a reflection of the community back to itself," Stringer said.

Part of the campaign reaching out to organizations and businesses in Johnson County.

"Connecting our employers to our young people. Our students in elementary, high school, and college," said Christian Maslowski, president, and CEO of Aspire Johnson County.

Maslowski said partnering with BBBSCI fits with the chamber's mission to connect with young people and impact future leaders.

In turn, the organization hopes to attract more mentors so fewer Hoosier kids are left waiting.

"We are really eager to help them and help connect them to our students who are raising their hands and saying, we'd love a mentor," Maslowski said.

BBBSCI is the biggest misconception is that you have to give a lot of time to be a mentor, but the reality is that it only takes four hours a month to make a difference in a child's life.