Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire Ribbon Cutting at New Riverside Headquarters
Heading into its milestone year, one-to-one youth mentoring organization exceeds growth goals of supporting more than 1,000 one-to-one matches
Riverside, Ca. – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire will celebrate five years of creating life-changing mentoring relationships for local youth at the March 28 grand opening of its new headquarters in Riverside.
In 2013, the Inland Empire office opened its doors as an extension of the Orange County agency to provide dedicated support to youth in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It has since grown from serving 20 children to more than 1,000 current matches, far exceeding its five-year strategic growth goal.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters helps our most vulnerable population of youth who are enduring significant hardships like chronic homelessness, poverty, neglect and abuse,” said Jennifer O’Farrell, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire. “For many of these children, having a mentor means that for the first time, there is someone in their lives whose only goal is to protect their ability to succeed. Spending quality time with a positive role model will change a child’s trajectory and move them on a track to graduate high school and go to college, creating long-term change in our future workforce and for our entire community.”
Over the last five years, the organization has introduced three variations of its one-to-one mentoring program to youth ages 6 to 18. Through traditional community mentoring, High School Bigs peer mentoring and Workplace Mentoring, Big Brothers Big Sisters has demonstrated success in helping 61 percent of youth become the first generation in their families to earn a high school diploma. Last year, 100 percent of youth in the class of 2017 graduated high school and 96 percent pursued a postsecondary plan.
There are hundreds more throughout the region who could benefit from the support of a mentor. The move to the new 7,800-square-foot facility greatly increases the organization’s capacity to process applications, interview and train volunteers, host introductory meetings for each new match and expand the case management team to provide ongoing professional support.
“We are very excited for this next chapter, as the Riverside office will provide many more resources, a fun and welcoming environment and room for growth,” O’Farrell said. “It’s true it takes a village to support our children, and we are so grateful to have strong community and business partnerships that have helped make this a reality.”
The public is invited to tour the new office March 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 2155 Chicago Ave., Riverside, Calif. A ribbon-cutting celebration led by the Riverside Chamber of Commerce begins promptly at 11:45 a.m., followed by a hosted lunch from The BBQ Wagon run by Riverside Police and Sandals Church, sponsored by Inland West.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire
Big Brothers Big Sisters believes that with the support of a caring mentor, every child has the ability to achieve his or her full potential. It is the nation’s largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring organization, serving a quarter-million children annually. Based in Santa Ana, Calif., the Orange County agency was incorporated in 1958 and works as a local extension of the national effort to make professionally supported, one-to-one matches between mentors (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”) facing adversity. Together with the Inland Empire agency, which opened its doors in 2013, the local organization annually serves more than 3,500 children through programs that improve the odds of youth performing better in school and avoiding violence and illegal activities. For more information visit iebigs.org or follow Big Brothers Big Sisters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.