A $20,000 grant from the town’s asset forfeiture fund has helped match 20 youngsters with adult mentors through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Inc.
The non-profit organization, with offices in Stuart and West Palm Beach, provides professionally supported mentors to children and young adults through its community-based, school-based and career skills-based mentoring programs.
The Jupiter youngsters, ages 6-18, are participating in the organization’s community-based mentoring program. Participants meet with their mentors at least twice a month in a mutually agreed-upon location such as local beaches, parks or athletic venues.
Mentors commit to one full year of volunteer service with program participants.
“This program is based on our traditional mentoring model, which means that we do one-on-one mentoring,” said Yuberca Pena, an enrollment and match specialist with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Inc.
“We pair one child with one mentor, and that child hangs out with that mentor. They go out into the community and do different activities, depending on their interests. We provide support.”
The organization also provides additional event programming for participants and their mentors.
Last month Big Brothers Big Sisters hosted a Board Game Day at the county library on Military Trail. This month the organization will bring participants and their mentors to the Hopes, Dreams and Horses, Inc., therapeutic riding center in Jupiter Farms.
“With the Jupiter program we offer additional events for the group so they can meet each other,” Pena said. “We provide a forum for them to get together and do different activities with their mentors as a way to encourage their relationships to develop.”
The Jupiter mentoring program began last August and will continue for one year.
Program participants were identified through the Palm Beach County school system, faith-based organizations and after-school programs.
“We’ve been trying to recruit wherever we can,” Pena said. “Any child that needs a mentor in Jupiter is eligible for our services.”
For information on Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit www.mentorbig.org.