Posted by Terrence Dalton
The Rotary Club of Akron had the privilege of listening to Kyle Putinski, the Executive Director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Summit, Medina, and Stark Counties, Inc. an affiliate of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, the Nation’s largest donor-and volunteer – supported mentoring network. organization at our March 23, 2021 Club meeting.
In his position, Putinski leads a team of youth development specialists serving children who are matched with an adult volunteer in the community and site-based programs for children age 6-18. Putinski is focused on helping the organization meet it strategic initiatives of increasing brand awareness, service delivery and quality in its core programs, financial sustainability, and board development.
Mr. Putinski opened his presentation with the following two questions.  “Who made a difference in your life, and What is a long-term relationship or a one and done meeting?”  These two questions are about the heart of Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BBBS) and forms the philosophical approach taken by BBBS.
Following up on these two questions, Kyle proceeded to discuss the impact Covid-19 has had on our youth.  He indicated that we are seeing an increase in depression, an increase in anxiety, isolation, a decrease in calls to Children’s Services, an increase in Trauma and a Decrease in academics.
So how can BBBS assist with these issues and what is Big Brothers and Big Sisters?
The mission of BBBS is “Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.”  The vision is “All youth achieve their full potential.”
By partnering with parents/guardians, volunteers, and others in the community BBBS is accountable for each child in their programs achieving:
  • Higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships
  • Avoidance of risky behaviors
  • Educational success
Programs Offered:
  • Community Based Programs
  • In-Person Site Based (on hold due to COVID-19)
  • Virtual Site Based
  • Bigs in Blue (police program)
  • Community training.
For specifics on each program, visit their website.
How Can You Help?
Be a Big:
  • Time Commitment:
    • There is a one-year time commitment
  • Age limit
    • 18 and up
  • Touch base with your “little” no more than once a week but a minimum of 2 times a month
  • In-person background check
Enrollment Process:
  1. Inquire Online: Inquire today to speak with a match specialist at Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  2. Apply: Ready to take the next step right now? Complete the online application. This will help speed up the process. Alternatively, after you inquire online, a match coordinator will contact you to complete the application offline.
  3. References: You'll need to provide at least three references of people we can talk to about your ability to be a mentor.
  4. Background Check: Child safety is our priority, so we'll review your records to ensure you'll be a good fit for our program.
  5. Interview: A match coordinator will interview you in person.
  6. Matching: We will review the kids in your area who need a Big Brother or Big Sister and find the best fit for you. Depending on your gender and the kind of child you'd like to work with, matching may go very quickly or take some time. Making the right match is important to our commitment to form lasting relationships.
Outcomes – BBBS hopes to attain the following outcomes:
  • 70-75% will increase feelings of social acceptance
  • 70-75% will increase educational expectations
  • 80-90% will improve GPA
  • 90-100% will improve attitudes toward risky behaviors
  • 75% will improve parental trust
  • 50-60% will improve truancy rates
Additionally, BBBS Littles will be:
  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • 52% less likely to skip school
  • 37% less likely to skip a class
  • 33% less likely to hit someone
Future Goals:
  • 2021:  Double their current matches
  • 2025:  500 matches by 2025
How can you support BBBS?
  • Make a one-time gift
  • Sponsor a match – You will get quarterly match update, social media exposure and a custom picture to showcase at your place of work
  • Attend a Big Brothers Big Sisters event
  • Sponsor a site-based program
Yours in Rotary Service,
Terry Dalton
Rotary Club of Akron Secretary