Civic Engagement

The Miami Mentoring Collaborative

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.

Who are you?

The Miami Mentoring Collaborative is a partnership between BBBS’ Mentoring Resource Center and multiple non-profits and businesses to recruit and train volunteers, provide diverse volunteer opportunities and create a local culture of volunteerism.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

The MMC will reduce inter-agency competition and maximize the number of qualified volunteers engaged in meaningful volunteer experiences. The MMC will launch its newest volunteer recruitment campaign during National Mentoring Month in January. So far 500 volunteer mentors and 50 agency staff have been trained. BBBS’ average match duration in 2013-14 was 31.2 months and the rate of retention was 68%. Using our proven models will increase community engagement through volunteerism in Miami.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

Data points addressed by this project include Miami’s volunteer rate and young adult volunteer rate. Specific outcomes include such measures as numbers of volunteers recruited, numbers of volunteers trained, numbers of staff trained in volunteer recruitment and retention, number of new volunteers placed and resulting number of youth served. Through combining organizational resources and purposeful volunteer recruitment and retention strategies, we intend to create a culture of volunteerism.

Please give examples of your project's success.

Young persons who lack a strong relationship with a caring adult are much more vulnerable to academic failure and involvement in risky behaviors. BBBS has consistently documented statistically significant improvements in peer relationships, scholastic competency, grades and risk attitudes. Each year, BBBS/MRC generates 1500 volunteer inquiries. Collaborating to increase civic engagement through volunteering will achieve similar long term outcomes for a greater number of Miami-Dade youth.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami

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Idea No. 113