About Us: Facts
The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation of NJ is to support the Big Brothers Big Sisters Programs throughout NJ through the sharing of best practices, mutual support, awareness building, advocacy and the acquisition of developmental resources and funding.
- There are 8 BBBS agencies providing comprehensive, quality community, school and site–based mentoring services to at risk children in all 21 counties in NJ.
- Collectively, we are providing services to thousands of children with additional children in the process of becoming involved.
Based upon the needs and trends identified, this suggests strong support for consistent mentoring programs that will provide targeted youths and their families with a variety of support and opportunities.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is viewed as the premier mentoring brand in New Jersey. Our mission is based on the successful strategies of Big Brother Big Sisters of America, an agency that has over one hundred years of experience in providing successful mentorship for children. Our programs are designed to replicate their successful models of mentoring services.
- The number of children growing up in single–parent families continues to increase.
- 28% of New Jersey families with children are now headed by a single parent,
- 25% of single–parent families are below poverty level
- Increase in substance abuse with the youth continues to be an area of concern for schools and the communities as well.
- Youth gang involvement in New Jersey is on the rise. According to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Juvenile Justice Commission Gang Management Unit, there are 2,300 known gang members under the age of 15 in New Jersey. Children as young as second and third grade have known gang affiliations.
- New Jersey High School drop out rate is currently at 13%
- According to the Governors State of NJ Prevention Plan of the Strategy
for Safe Streets & Neighborhoods;
- Juvenile arrests for murder have increased by 15%
- Juvenile Arrests for robbery have increased by 22.4%
- And Juvenile Arrest for weapons have increased by 16.4%
BBBS is a preventive program that will ultimately reduce the need for possible future juvenile justice and school disciplinary intervention when the child is older and⁄or becomes an adult.
There will always be a need for mentoring services as the number of single parents continues to grow within the state however, for those children that participate in the program the need for future intervention is greatly reduced. It costs over $40,000 a year for a child to be maintained in the juvenile justice system. It costs approximately $1,500 a year to mentor a child.
We are able to assist with the immediate needs of the families as well as aid in the prevention of future juvenile problems. We continue to focus on prevention of gang involvement by providing the children with a positive environment, 1:1 support and the feeling of belonging to a caring youth services program.
As individual agencies we face continued challenges of meeting the needs of the children that are referred for our services. We anticipate an additional 25% increase in the number of children (1,250 children) that will be referred to our programs next year. In order to increase the number of children that have been identified, the need for more mentors and the cost to provide this service increases as well.
We also face increased challenges raising funds in a suppressed economy and in a crowded non–profit market whereas many new mentoring programs have sprouted up taking funding by using the statistics from our studies.
In the words of Dr. Peter Benson of the Search Institute, “If Big Brothers Big Sisters didn’t exist; we’d have to invent it right now.” Thousands of children and families that we serve are grateful and fortunate that BBBBS in NJ does exist.