The Bright Future Foundation (BFF) was recently awarded a roughly $94,000 grant for its Buddy Mentor Program by Tony Grampsas Youth Services (TGYS), a statutory program providing funding to local organizations that work with youth and their families through programs designed to prevent youth crime and violence, youth marijuana use, and child abuse and neglect.
Over the next months, Eagle County residents can expect a blitz of recruitment activity, thanks to the TGYS grant and funds provided by Proposition BB. Last November, Colorado voters cast their ballets in support of Proposition BB, allowing the state to spend $66.1 million in taxes collected from the sale of recreational marijuana.
Bright Future plans to use these funds in an effort to double its Buddy Mentor Program, from 40 to 80 pairings. The money will go toward recruitment, marketing and advertising with hopes of attracting new, qualified mentors to the program. A rebranding campaign, newspaper and radio advertisements, bus wraps and a launch party are all on the docket this spring to help spread the word.
“A 100 percent increase in mentor pairings is certainly an ambitious goal,” said Sheri Mintz, executive director of Bright Future,” but with help of the TGYS grant and support of the community, we’re hopeful and confident we can make it happen.”
The Buddy Mentor Program is based on the national Big Brothers Big Sisters model of mentorship. The program inspires and fosters youth through consistent and trusting relationships while providing opportunities for the community to be actively involved. Research suggests, when compared to their peers, youth who are involved with a mentor are less likely to use substances, less likely to skip school and less likely to engage in physical violence. Moreover, youth involved with a mentor show increased confidence in academic work and increased success in family relationships.
A typical buddy-mentor pairing consists of a roughly three-hour commitment every week for a period of at least one year. With the re-launch of the program this spring, BFF is also offering an abbreviated version of the program over the summer months, which is a critical time for youth not occupied by school. Summer Buddies will provide mentors with an opportunity to experience the program without the long-term commitment.