FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — January 30, 2018
Beach Pace, CEO / Work: 971.302.2172 / Cell: 408.627.1170 / [email protected]
Cynthia Thompson, Chief Development Officer / Work: 971.302.2148 / Cell: 503.801.3049 / [email protected]
PORTLAND, OR, January 30, 2018 – Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) received two surprise announcements at their 4th annual Big Hero Gala on Saturday, January 27, 2018. In front of a packed house of 400 supporters and sponsors, who contributed a record-breaking $300,000 through the event, two pillars of the Portland community pledged themselves to becoming official mentors, known within the organization as “Bigs.” They will soon join the ranks of over 450 other local Bigs, forging one-on-one mentorships with children facing adversity.
Superintendent Guerrero comes to Portland with a track record as a dedicated, inspirational, and hands-on leader. He demonstrated those qualities fully on Saturday, with an unexpected, on-the-spot pledge to become a Big.
“We all benefit from mentors in our lives, especially in our formative years. I know I did,” said Superintendent Guerrero said. “While I’m still relatively new to Portland and the school district, I am looking forward to working one-on-one with a young person who might appreciate an opportunity for a bit of additional attention and mentorship.”
While Oregon’s graduation rate currently sits at 78%, the graduation rate for Big Brothers Big Sisters mentees soars to 91%. In his new role as a Big, Guerrero ups the ante of his professional ambition to close this gap, and makes it a personal one.
In an exciting first for BBBS PDX, Portland’s Police Chief attended this year’s Big Hero Gala. Her spontaneous, mid-event commitment to become a Big was met with thunderous applause but little surprise; the Chief has championed community strengthening since her appointment last year. Outlaw will be mentoring as part of Bigs in Blue – a national initiative by Big Brothers Big Sisters that pairs law enforcement officers with at-risk youths in their communities. The program will launch formally in Portland in the fall of 2018.
“I am honored to be a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and serve as a positive presence to a child,” said Chief Danielle Outlaw. “One of the greatest gifts we can give is our time, and I believe providing a positive presence in a child’s life will be impactful to her as well as personally rewarding. I’m encouraging our officers to become Big Brothers and Big Sisters as well, if their time allows.”
While Guerrero, Outlaw and other Bigs are certainly making major personal investments in the lives of local children, their service also has financial impacts.
The cost of a high school drop out to a community is $237,000 (police intervention, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, incarceration) over their lifetime. The cost of a Big Brothers Big Sisters match (a Big mentoring a Little) is only $1,500 per year. The commitments of BBBS mentors and supporters not only fortify the Portland community and make fiscal sense, they build bonds that change children’s lives.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
BBBS is a local, private non-profit organization affiliated with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Founded in 2002, it serves as one of the Portland-Vancouver region’s largest youth mentoring organizations and has achieved a 91% high school graduation rate for its mentees, far above the region’s overall graduation rate of 74%. More than 8,500 local children have been matched with a volunteer Big Brother or Sister, creating life-changing bonds. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes Big Brothers Big Sisters’ unique model as an evidence-based intervention for youth. The organization’s primary objective is to help children develop the Life Skills they need to graduate high school, prepared for college or a career.