Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona closes wait list due to shortage of volunteers

PHOENIX - Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Arizona has been forced to close its wait list for children signing up for mentors in the West Valley due to a shortage of male volunteers.

The organization pairs mentors with kids between 6 and 18 years old as a way to give them positive life experiences and keep them on track with school.

“We’re providing a positive consistent adult in the child’s life,” said Director of Partnership Development Jamar Jones.

The organization tells ABC15 they have up to 300 boys across the Valley waiting for a male mentor.

According to Jones, at least 10 to 20 boys a week are being turned away from its West Valley locations because the wait lists are too long.

“We had to stop kids from being on the wait list because it becomes too much of an emotional strain on the child, especially when they have to wait up to two years for a mentor,” said Denice Riffey, a spokeswoman with BBBSAZ.

Mentoring a child can be as easy as playing sports together, going for ice cream or pizza, even just talking and lending some inspirational advice.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer, you can start the process by clicking on BBBSAZ’s website

Here’s what you’ll need to be matched with a child in BBBSAZ’s mentor programs:

- Be at least 18 years old
- Must have lived in the area for a minimum of 3 months prior to applying to be in the program
- Commit to meeting 2-4 times per month, for at least 1 year, in our community-based program
- Have transportation, a valid AZ driver's license and provide current proof of auto insurance
- Be willing to drive up to 30 minutes to pick up your Little
- Be able to pass a Criminal Background and Driving Motor Vehicle Check
- Pay fees associated with background checks
- Be able to participate in regular phone contacts with a BBBSAZ staff person

For more information about being a Big Brother or Big Sister, contact 602-264-9254.

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