ENGLEWOOD — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Englewood is in need of more male mentoring help, with the number of boys increasing on its waiting list.
‘We’re always in need of more male mentors,’ said mentor manager Natalie Anderson. ‘Whether if it’s community-based or site-based, I definitely have more female mentors than men. So boys are occasionally put on a longer waiting list, because I have tried to reach out to the public.’
As a policy for Big Brothers Big Sisters, male mentors can only be matched up with boys, while females can be matched up with boys and girls, depending on the parent’s wishes.
Carolyn Gorton, the community resource director in BBBS, is in charge of the Charlotte County branch and frequents both the Englewood and the Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte offices. She worked for the Charlotte County school system for 41 years before retiring and taking up the position with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
‘One of the ways we’re recruiting males is I’m going to businesses that are predominantly male and doing public speaking to present the program,’ Gorton said. ‘I just spoke to over 800 men at the Walmart distribution center. There are people from (as far as) Englewood who do work at Walmart distribution center.’
Gorton’s efforts also reached the Palm Auto Mall, where she spoke to over 250, predominantly men. The reason why men are in such demand is because more parents are specifically wanting a positive male role model for the child.
‘There’s a lot of men out there who are retired that can do it,’ Gorton said. ‘As I say to everybody, there’s 168 hours in a week, I only need one. That hour in a week, you’re changing the life of somebody. You’re guiding them and you’re giving back to the community.’
Gordon said the cycle for mentorship is more frequent when the mentored child grows up, he or she is more likely to mentor another child.
As of Thursday, Anderson had matched 75 pairs of mentors and children in her time with BBBS. There were 33 children on the waiting list with 21 boys. The middle school program is called Gateway to Success and the high school program is called Decision to Win.
‘I have to admit Englewood is very supportive when it comes to this program,’ Anderson said. ‘The mentors we do have in Englewood are very committed to what they do. I’m blessed to be located in Englewood.’
For more information, call 941-473-4003 or go to http://www.bbbssun.org.