Butler County seeks Big Brothers, Sisters to assist with need

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butler County has launched a new recruitment campaign, “Erase the Wait,” to find volunteers to help the organization meet demand for its services.

Currently, the Hamilton-based nonprofit has 139 young people in its system waiting for a mentor, and more are being referred to the program every day, according to Jessica Huentelman, the organization’s director of marketing and recruitment.

To address that volunteer deficit, BBBS Butler County has created a multifaceted need-awareness campaign. It features an array of promotions and marketing materials, including a highway billboard in the Bridgewater area and a series of audio ads streaming on services such as Pandora and iHeartMedia stations.

The agency is also tapping into its social media channels for weekly mini-campaigns, such as “Waitlist Wednesday” where it breaks down the number of Littles waiting for a Big in cities across the county. The “Future Little Friday” effort features stories about the needs of the kids in the BBBS system.

Overall, the goal of the campaign is education, said CEO Scott Stephens. Not just about the program and its current needs, he said, but also the impact the adult volunteers can have on the community.

“Being a mentor means making an impact on the future,” he said. “They’re impacting the future by investing in children today. 

“I would love to see us have a waiting list of Big Brothers and Big Sisters instead of a waiting list of children.”

Need continues to grow after six decades in 

Big Brothers Big Sisters has provided one-to-one mentoring to children in Butler County since 1968. And today that need is as great as ever, Stephens said.

The organization released stats that show one in three kids in the United States is growing up without a sustained, positive adult mentor in their lives. The gap between mentorship and youth who need it most continues to widen due to perceived barriers of the time and expertise needed to become a mentor, Stephens said.

Over the past three years, BBBS Butler County has served an average of more than 350 young people every year overall, but the primary need is through one-to-one matches.

Last year, 231 of the 354 children the organization served were through the Big Brother Big Sister match program.

Shortage of volunteers has been an ongoing issue for BBBS Butler County as well as many other agencies across the country, Huentelman said.

“We have seen volunteerism go down since the pandemic and the number of youths in need of a mentor continues to increase,” she continued.

As far as the need for volunteers we need volunteers of all sorts, but the majority of the waitlist is Little Brothers. 

Stephens said BBBS Butler County is “galvanizing alumni and supporters to address this critical need to inspire potential and bridge the gap between people and possibility.”

As part of its new campaign, BBBS Butler County will also host a series of networking opportunities to highlight the impacts of serving as a Big Brother or Big Sister. Initial plans include a happy hour and a “Big for a Day” event where prospective Bigs can meet kids in the program and enjoy a series of activities with them. 

More details about those events will be announced in the near future, Stephens said.

Anyone interested in learning more can visit the BBBS Butler County website. Groups or organizations who may want to help with this campaign can contact Huentelman at Jessica.huentelman@bbbsbutler.org or by calling 513-867-1227 ext. 141.

“I know we have over 100 great people in this county who can share their time with a youth a few hours a month,” Stephens said. “It really takes little to be a ‘Big.’”

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