Boston Police Department and BBBSMB Unveil Bigs in Blue Mentoring Program
Boston – January 12, 2017 – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, one of the nation’s leading one-to-one mentoring organizations, today announced a partnership with the Boston Police Department formally launching a joint Bigs in Blue SM program that connects Boston youth (Littles) with current police officers (Bigs) to build strong, trusting, lasting relationships between law enforcement, the community and the families they serve. The Bigs in Blue initiative was recently launched nationally by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the nation’s oldest mentorship program, with hopes to raise $5 million to support the initiative and fund programs for one-third of the organization’s 300 local affiliates.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America designed the program in an effort to address the strained relationship between officers and the communities they serve. While there are a number of law enforcement officers already participating in youth mentor programs across the country, creating a formal program and expanding it nationally provides the best opportunity to foster relationships between the two groups and bridge any divides within a community. In December, the first Bigs in Blue program in Massachusetts launched with the Barnstable Police Department, while departments in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami and other cities across the nation are also participating.
“Boston is a model city in our nation for having strong police-community relations thanks to the men and women of the Boston Police Department who go above and beyond the call of duty to give back and be role models for our youth,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “The Bigs in Blue program is another example of how our law enforcement officials are working hard to be a positive influence in young peoples’ lives, and it highlights the true value gained by mentoring opportunities. I thank the officers involved for volunteering their time to this important program, and I look forward to its success in our city.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay and the Boston Police Department unveiled this Bigs in Blue program during a press conference held at the police headquarters. City of Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh spoke at the event in support of the program and the importance of mentoring. The program, which is part of the Mayor’s Mentoring Movement that aims to have 10 percent of participating youth matched with city employees as their mentor, is launching with the commitment of 25 Boston Police Department officers.
“The Boston Police Department believes this Bigs in Blue program will be incredibly valuable to the families, officers and communities involved, and a great opportunity for officers to further connect with residents to build relationships and trust,” said William B. Evans, Police Commissioner, Boston Police Department. “We are proud that so many officers have expressed interest in this program and will volunteer their time to further give back to the communities that they serve.”
“Working in some of Boston’s rougher neighborhoods, I see a lot of kids who don’t have many positive influences in their lives – specifically, most of these kids have no positive male role models. After seeing this every day at work, I signed up to be a Big in order to truly make a difference and do my part to be a bigger influence on a child’s life outside of my job,” said Jeff Lopes, Boston police officer and current Big. “Connecting with youth on the job – whether it’s for a quick chat or throwing a football around – is a big focus for our department. This program will be a great opportunity for additional officers to engage on a deeper level with youth and connect with the community.”
“As an organization, we are focused on bridging the divides between individuals and their communities. As such, this is a very important partnership with the Boston Police Department to help foster lasting, meaningful one-to-one relationships between law enforcement officers and families within their communities,” said Wendy Foster, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay. “With this partnership, we are optimistic that Boston police officers will develop friendships that make a difference and last a lifetime while building a bridge between police and the community.”
The Bigs in Blue program is open to all officers from police departments across eastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands. Each participating officer commits to spending four to eight hours per month with their Little. Police departments across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are also encouraged to sponsor a Bigs in Blue program by partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. For more information about the Bigs in Blue program or to get involved, please visit www.bbbsmb.org/bigs-in-blue.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay is an innovative, energetic organization that is making a real difference in the lives of more than 2,400 youth by providing them with an invested, caring adult mentor. With research and proven outcomes at its core, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay is working to ensure every child has the support from caring adults that they need for healthy development and success in life. The organization’s vision is to inspire, engage and transform communities in Massachusetts Bay by helping youth achieve their full potential, contributing to healthier families, better schools, brighter futures and stronger communities. To learn more, visit www.bbbsmb.org
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