With gratitude, Big Brother Big Sisters of the Sun Coast recognizes the following “Good Deeds” from these organizations that continue to support our mission and have a positive impact on the communities we serve.

Evalyn Sadlier Jones Foundation has awarded Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast (BBBSSC) $10,000 for its Mentoring Children of Promise (MCOP) and Big Futures initiatives for Sarasota County.

MCOP serves youth with one or both parents incarcerated in federal, state or local prisons/jails by providing them with specially-trained mentors and necessary support services. The youth in this program are among the most vulnerable in our community. Having a trained, caring mentor to provide academic and emotional support and guidance is life-changing for the youth served through MCOP.

The Big Futures program is a professionally-supported bridge that provides continued guidance to the 10th-12th grade youth it currently serves until they reach age 21, thereby placing them on a career pathway to sustainable guidance. Ninety-five percent of the youth who remain matched with their mentor through Big Futures after high school graduation are either enrolled in a higher education institution or gainfully employed.

Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch awarded BBBSSC a $3,500 grant for its one-to-one mentoring program for children served in Lakewood Ranch. Grant funds will be used for the Lakewood Ranch youth that the agency serves through community-based and site-based mentoring.

For 50 years, BBBSSC has been helping children realize their potential and build their futures. BBBSSC makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 21, in communities across the Sun Coast.

Community-based mentoring relationships involve one-on-one outings and activities, doing things the Big and Little enjoy together. Some Bigs and Littles meet on weekends, others on weekday evenings. Each match is unique and develops a schedule that works for them. Sometimes the best place to help a child realize their potential is at school. Although it takes place at schools, our School-Based Mentoring program isn’t limited to the classroom. Of course, some Littles talk with their Bigs about class, or do homework or read together, but it’s fine to shoot hoops in the gym or play on the playground.

At the end of the day, it’s really all about starting a friendship, providing guidance and inspiring them to reach their potential.

Venice Golf & Country Club Foundation awarded BBBSSC a $2,000 grant for its background screening for volunteers. The funding is for screenings and re-screenings (every 3 years) in the Greater Venice area — Venice, Englewood, North Port, Laurel, and Nokomis to ensure the safety of our community’s youth.

This includes a fingerprint check through the FBI’s national database and a complete driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

BBBSSC was approved for a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation in the amount of $15,000 to support its Gateways to Graduation and Big Futures initiatives for Manatee, Sarasota & Charlotte Counties.

Gateways to Graduation serves 8th-12th grade students who have been identified by school personnel as those at risk of not graduating or not being promoted to the next grade level. Volunteers provide weekly, one-to-one mentoring on each student’s school campus, helping the mentored youth to become academically motivated and to develop planning skills and goals.

The Big Futures program is a professionally-supported bridge that provides continued guidance to the 10th-12th grade youth it currently serves until they reach age 21, thereby placing them on a career pathway to sustainable guidance.

Jerome & Mildred Paddock Foundation awarded $10,000 to BBBSSC to serve the Juvenile Justice Mentoring (JJMI) & Big Futures initiatives for Sarasota County. The JJMI program provides prevention and early intervention specialized mentoring services to youth who are at high risk of entering the juvenile justice system.

Ninety-nine percent of youth in the program avoided juvenile delinquency. Ninety-five percent of the youth who remain matched with their mentor through Big Futures after high school graduation are either enrolled in a higher education institution or gainfully employed.

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