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PHILADELPHIA Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, based in Philadelphia, announced today it has established a Native American Advisory Council to guide the national organization in its strategic efforts to expand one-to-one staff-supported mentoring services to help American Indian youth do well in school and succeed in life.
Native American Advisory Council
The Advisory Council, which will meet quarterly, assembled for the first time in Philadelphia in early April. The group will support and guide Big Brothers Big Sisters and advise on matters of cultural competence as the national mentoring network increases its volunteer and donor base to serve more Native American children.
“The Big Brothers Big Sisters Native American Advisory Council is extremely important as we support our affiliates in their work to provide mentoring services to more rural and urban Native American families and communities,”
said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Director of Native American Mentoring, Ivy Wright-Bryan, a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in Nevada.
“Longstanding studies, complemented by our real-time Youth Outcomes Survey data, illustrate the effectiveness of these services in helping youth overcome adversity to succeed in school; avoid risky behaviors and have higher self esteem and aspirations. To hold ourselves accountable for these outcomes, we need support from experts such as those who have agreed to serve on the Native American Advisory Council ”
Members of the Council include:
With support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Big Brothers Big Sisters established its Native American Tribal Community Initiative in 2008. The program serves more than 4,197 Native American children, 42 percent of whom are matched with American Indian mentors. Local Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates serve 25 tribal reservation communities and 10 Pueblos, where Native American staff, with the help of advisors and elders, carefully match youth with mentors and provide ongoing support to the adult volunteers, mentees and the children's families. Big Brothers Big Sisters' local affiliates are engaged with tribal reservation and urban/community-based businesses; educational and vocational training institutions; non-profit groups; and faith-based institutions that serve Native Americans.
“Our program is already resulting in measurable positive outcomes, most notably improved attitudes toward antisocial behavior; stronger parental and peer relationships; better school attendance and scholastic competence; and higher educational expectations, social competencies and school attendance,”
“Ultimately these mentoring services will help improve overall wellness, including the avoidance of substance abuse and suicide.”
posted May 9, 2012 7:57 am edt