RIVERSIDE, CA- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire is partnering with barbershops across Riverside and San Bernardino counties to recruit volunteers for its one-to-one youth mentoring program. The Shaping Up for the Future campaign runs from February 3 to February 24 and aims to find mentors to serve as positive role models for the more than 200 boys currently on the waitlist.
On February 3, current mentors in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program will participate in campaign kick-offs at the six participating barbershops, including: Gentlemen’s Barber Club, Thee Latest Barbershop and Good News Barber Shop in Rancho Cucamonga; and Shaves and Fades Barbershop, Expensive Habits Barbershop and The Hair Doctors in Riverside. Each shop is tasked with educating its patrons about the significant impact of youth mentoring. The barbershop that brings in the most potential volunteers will receive the Champion for Change trophy, presented by Big Brothers Big Sisters on February 28.
“As a former professional athlete, it means a lot to me to give back to the community that I grew up in and help young men stay out of trouble,” said Terrell Thomas, a retired NFL Giants player and owner of Thee Latest Barbershop. “You see kids all the time getting in trouble, going to jail and just following the crowd. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides a way for these kids to have a better future.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters matches volunteer mentors one-to-one with youth facing adversity (“Littles”), building friendships that help them overcome challenges such as having an incarcerated parent, exposure to substance abuse, gang violence, human trafficking and growing up in the foster system. The organization supports more than 1,000 children annually in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. As a result, many local youth are becoming the first in their families to earn a high school diploma, go to college and build a career to achieve sustainable independence—creating lasting generational change throughout the Inland Empire.
“There are hundreds of boys in our community growing up without a positive male role model, so we are excited to have these local businesses be part of our inaugural campaign that will provide them with life-changing friendships,” said Jennifer O’Farrell, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire. “The patrons our partner barbershops recruit will be matched with children to help them explore new interests and provide consistent support as they navigate the challenges of growing up.”
Traditional program volunteers must be 18 years or older, sign up to mentor a child for one year and have a vehicle, current driver’s license and proof of auto insurance. For more information about the Shaping Up for the Future recruitment campaign, visit barbershopbigs.org.