Big Brothers, Big Sisters looking for male mentors

Group reports shortage of African American male mentors

SAN ANTONIO - On Wednesday, a new campaign was launched by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Antonio to try and find more mentors for young men in the African American community.

"Man up and become a mentor" is the new recruiting theme.

"We have a lot of African American children who are waiting," said Aissatou Sidime, chair of the African American Mentoring Initiative Advisory Council.

According to Big Brothers Big Sisters, 20 percent of students on the Big Brothers Big Sisters waiting list are African American. 

Only 5 percent of the volunteers are African American. Of those volunteers, less than 2 percent are male.

"It's startling," said Damon Childs, who has been a mentor for nine years. "We just simply have to do better."

District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor is a mentor, and recently named Big Brothers Big Sisters board member.

"You may not realize what the impact has been until much later," she said. "You kind of keep plugging away."

The campaign will run for three months, with the target on gyms, churches and barber shops.

"Our children stay in school longer. They graduate and actually go on to college at a higher rate and if were not willing to fill the void, somebody else on the street corner may be filling the void. That’s not what we want," Sidime said.

For more information on how to become a mentor, visit BigMentor.org.

For a list of recent stories David Sears has done, click here.


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