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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico Helps Albuquerque Children Reach Their Full Potential

By Marina I. Jokic

As the nation's largest donor and volunteer-supported mentoring network, BBBS has made possible many meaningful matches between adult volunteers and children aged 6 to 18 years old across the United States. "Mentoring provides children facing adversity with someone to care about them, to assure them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and make them feel like they matter," says Sharon Tenorio, Chief of Marketing and Outreach at BBBS of Central New Mexico.

The BBBS in Albuquerque helps instill confidence and leadership qualities in children by matching them with an adult who helps and encourages them to leave their comfort zones. With the help of the parent and a BBBS Match Support Specialist, each match develops short and long term goals for each year of the relationship.

The mission of the BBBS hinges on providing children who face adversity with strong and enduring, professionally coordinated relationships that change their lives for the better. Through working with parents, volunteers, and other members of the community, the BBBS holds itself strictly responsible for supporting children through whatever obstacles they might be facing. By giving them a chance to develop confidence at school, useful skills, lasting relationships, and to avoid risky behavior, mentors ensure the success of their mentees.

Tenorio points to recent research that demonstrates quality mentoring relationships having a powerful positive effect on children in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. Ultimately, mentoring instills in children the value of personal growth and development while making social and economic opportunities more accessible to them. Yet, one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset. The BBBS is there to ensure that disadvantaged kids are not deprived of that service.

A 2009 independent study of adult alumni of BBBS demonstrated that alumni of the program were 75% more likely than non-alumni to have received a four-year college degree, 39% more likely than non-alumni to have current household incomes of $75,000 or higher, and that the majority of alumni are very satisfied with their relationships to friends (72%), family (65%) and spouses (62%). Fewer non-alumni report the same level of satisfaction (46%, 50% and 40%, respectively). Moreover, a majority of participants (62%) perceive themselves to have achieved a higher level of success than their peers who were not involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters. Overall, the organization has received glowing reviews by participants and members of the community.

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