$5,000 to grant to expand Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring

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Cranston’s branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State (BBBSOS) will use a $5,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation to fund community-based and site-based mentoring programs for the African-American children it serves.

“Providing the black community with the resources to thrive goes to the core of commitment to equity and our vision for ensuring that the future is bright for a changing Rhode Island,” said Adrian Boney, the Foundation’s program officer for special programs.

The grant is one of 14 the Foundation made to nonprofits statewide through its Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund to mark Black History Month in February.

“This has the potential to turn children facing adversity to strong, confident, successful young adults,” said Katje Afonseca, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters.  “Providing our children with positive adult role models will foster positive social behaviors, enhance self-confidence, competence and caring; promote pro-social behavior and help these children recognize and build upon their strengths.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters' community-based mentoring program pairs at-risk youth age 7 to 15 in long-term, one-to-one relationships with adult volunteers. Site-based mentoring pairs college students and working professionals with elementary and middle school students who may be in need of additional academic support or personal encouragement in a supervised group setting at a school or community site.

"This grant will enable us to provide local children the opportunity to create lifelong friendships with adult mentors that will change their lives significantly. Over time, more children will graduate from high school, attend college or develop a trade, delay parenthood until adulthood and, as adults, be self-sufficient and give back to their community," Afonseca said.The Foundation's Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund supports nonprofits that offer youth development and mentoring, promote the history and achievements of Blacks in Rhode Island, preserve the culture of the Black community and strive to uplift low-income Black Rhode Islanders.

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