Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and the Islands will shift their focus to recruiting more diverse volunteers and inspiring adults to step up and support the potential of every child, according to a press release.
The original goal of the organization was to convey the importance of mentoring today’s youth. And although that goal will remain a central component, months of research, including focus groups with potential Bigs, as well as current Bigs, Littles, donors, staff, and leadership showed that the brand was not effectively focusing on a child’s potential, and the role of adults in helping children achieve their best possible futures.
JR Mell, regional director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and the Islands, told The Times the organization is based off of a 1-to-1 mentoring model. He said the updated goal of the mentoring program is to attract younger mentors who can relate closely with their Littles. “Many of today’s youth need that extra support system that they can relate to on a close, personal level,” Mell said. He explained that one issue specific to the Vineyard is a lot of children being raised by their grandparents as their parents are not around. “We see this issue a lot, and it’s not a bad thing, but kids need someone to connect with,” Mell said.
He also mentioned that mental health problems on Martha’s Vineyard create a greater need for children to have an inspirational role model in their lives.
Significant changes have been made to the aesthetics of the organization. The original logo, according to Mell, “Wasn’t with the times.” The call to action and mission statement are also being adjusted to attract a new demographic of young volunteers. “We want to increase our appeal to the male demographic,” Mell said. “Boys are referred [as Littles] at a rate 4 times greater than girls.”
Mell said the changes will increase interconnectedness and efficiency between the 270 Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates across the country.