BBBS launches mentoring program in Beauregard
Published 5:10 pm Sunday, May 15, 2022
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Louisiana has officially launched a new site-based program in Beauregard Parish that officials hope will foster lasting relationships between local youth and members of law enforcement.
Named “Bigs with Badges” the mentoring program seeks to create one-on-one mentoring relationships between adult first responders and law enforcement officers with members of the youth in Beauregard Parish.
Erin Davison, executive director of BBBS of SWLA, said the program was created to fill a need for today’s youth; to lessen risk factors, truancy, and other negative behaviors, but she said the program could hold just as many benefits for the adults who volunteer.
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“Bigs with Badges benefits law enforcement and first responders as much as the youth they mentor. Volunteers in the program report that serving as a Big Brother or Big Sister has given them a much deeper understanding of the communities they protect and has reconnected them with their mission in service,” Davison said.
This month, BBBS of SWLA began accepting applications for those interested in participating in the program. Big Mentors who are badge-carrying, to include law enforcement, first responders, veterans or active-duty military, will be matched with students between kindergarten through eighth grade.
Davison said mentors can expect to meet up with their matched student, or “Little,” a minimum of two times a month for the duration of the school year. Most meet-ups will occur during the student’s lunch break or enrichment hour and typically involve eating lunch together, playing games, simply talking, or reading readiness activities to include assistance with reading and homework.
John Jaramillo is the program’s supervisor and a new resident of DeRidder, and he said he has seen himself the need for such a Bigs with Badges program in Beauregard.
“The youth today is influenced so easy by their peers and others. Beauregard Parish has had an increase in gang activity. By building this program, I feel like we can save our youth and build that trust between police officers and the community,” Jaramillo said.
Recruitment for participating Bigs will continue throughout the summer, with the first meet-ups set to begin in August.
Anyone who wishes to participate may contact Jaramillo at 337-478-5437, ext. 103 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.