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Hoosiers looking for ways to help during crisis

Posted at 8:13 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 20:13:25-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It appears people are looking for ways to give back during the movement toward equality and the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent events have sparked a renewed interest in mentoring.

"We have gotten calls from people in companies that have a lesser minority population for internships, training for staff," Chrystal Hines, of Inner Beauty Program, said.

Hines said these days people are in a hurry to help.

"The larger response comes from just having knowledge of what is needed," Hines said. "I can't say it is necessarily because of the movement but I do believe the larger push is because of the movement."

Hines is talking about the Black Lives Matter movement making noise all across the nation and raising awareness everywhere about a need for progression.

"We even got a call from the Colts cheerleaders asking how they can come over and assist our program," Hines said.

Like Inner Beauty and New Boy New Breed of Youth, Voices also does a lot of work with young people who happen to live in the inner city of Indianapolis.

"It doesn't take a lot of time to be a mentor all you have to do is be caring and consistent," Brandon Randall, of Voices, said. "If you are part of a kid's life you now have a responsibility to hold that young person accountable but that young person now has somebody to guide them and depend on."

Randall said that's really all it takes to change the trajectory of a young person's life and it's never too late. Right now the nonprofit is relying on Zoom meetings and virtual meetups to stay connected.

"They love for us to be in their face. They don't like the whole call me," Aaron Green, of Voices, said. "They want you to pull up, hug them and push them around. It's been hard during this time."

Regardless of how heavy it all feels right now, they believe programs like Voices will emerge with more mentors on board than before.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted volunteer inquiries since March. Big Brothers Big Sisters would normally see about 130 volunteer inquiries in a month," Darcey Palmer-Shultz, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, said. "In May, that number was 69. On the 10th day of June, we have already seen an increase with 54 volunteer inquiries so far this month. In addition to a campaign currently running with the help of the Indianapolis Indians to encourage more people to consider becoming Bigs, Big Brothers Big Sisters considers this month’s increase in volunteer numbers to be related to the current events mobilizing action against racism and injustice."