Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami (BBBS) is the premier mentoring organization of South Florida, helping thousands of children each year through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships with caring adult volunteers. Through its Mentoring Resource Center (MRC), BBBS collaborates with over 40 youth-serving organizations, delivering program development consultation and customized training for mentoring agencies and their volunteers, employees, and families. We want to create a culture of civic engagement through volunteering in youth development and mentoring programs. The focus for this project is to create collaborations between organizations that may normally be considered competitors in order to maximize volunteerism in Miami. Not only does this strategy share resources and combine forces to achieve a common goal of recruiting increased numbers of volunteers, but it reduces the need for potential volunteers to try to assess and access a "best fit” placement by navigating through numerous agencies on their own. Another goal is to assure that volunteers are properly trained to provide quality youth services, especially within targeted youth populations. The organizations will work together to share and maximize their strengths, offering a flexible volunteering model, volunteer and professional development training, targeted volunteer recruitment, effective volunteer retention strategies, and other capacity-building resources. Volunteers are referred to one of the collaborating organizations based on their interests, schedule, and preferences. According to the Our Miami report, civic engagement is impacted in part by “how connected residents feel to the place they live”. The Miami Mentoring Collaborative will connect Miami-Dade County organizations in a shared cause, connect individuals with local volunteer opportunities, and ultimately connect our young people with mentors. Research finds resilient youth—those who successfully transition from risk-filled backgrounds to the adult world of work and good citizenship—are consistently distinguished by the presence of a caring adult in their lives (Rhodes, J. E., & DuBois, D. L. 2006). We feel this is the pinnacle of civic engagement.
Idea No. 113