Nearly 700 boys waiting for mentors in central Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There are nearly 700 boys waiting for a mentor in central Indiana. According to Big Brothers Big Sisters, there is about a year-long wait for a male mentor in our area.

So, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana is working to address the problem by launching a campaign to recruit 100 men in 50 days.

“More than 900 kids are on our waiting list right now in the central Indiana area,” said Darcey Palmer-Shultz, the CEO of BBBS of Central Indiana. “The great majority of those kids are in Marion County. Seventy percent of those kids are boys. Unfortunately, they wait too long right now for mentors because we have to work harder to get enough male volunteers through the door.”

Through June 9, the organization is working to spread the word about the need. Palmer-Shutlz said it’s a move that can help Indy youth – specifically boys – remain focused and out of trouble.

“We work with a lot of kids who are very personally impacted by incarceration – that’s about 40 percent of the kids that we serve,” Palmer-Shultz said. “We know that cycle can continue without helping kids find those paths to really succeed. They really just need exposure to positive opportunities, exposure to positive people and exposure to choices.”

Big Brother Andy Starling has been matched with his little for about three years.

“He just didn’t have a male influence in his life,” Starling said. “He was just really missing that. I got to step in and fill that role.”

Since the day they met, Starling said they have built a friendship that has helped them both.

“I know that I’ve gotten as much out of being a big as he has gotten from me being a big,” Starling said. “It’s just one of the most rewarding things I do in my life.”

To learn more about the “100 Men in 50 Days” campaign, click here.