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Defenders of Potential: Big Brothers Big Sisters Detroit and FCA Foundation Working to Change Childr


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 18, 2020 Contact: Jeannine Gant, CEO and President, 313-309-0500 or jeannine.gant@bbbsdetroit.org

Defenders of Potential: Big Brothers Big Sisters Detroit and FCA Foundation Working to Change Children’s Lives For The Better, Forever

FCA Foundation grants $150,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide mentoring at schools and at work

Detroit, MI - Potential is everywhere. It’s in every kid. Yet, 8.5 million kids, including many in Detroit still need someone in their corner -- someone to defend the potential that is inside every child.

Today, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit is pleased to announce a recent $150,000 grant from the FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, to provide one-to-one mentoring for youth in Pontiac and Detroit. Specifically, the grant will be used to support 105 students through school and workplace mentoring at Herrington Elementary in Pontiac, and Marcus Garvey Academy and Hutchinson Elementary-Middle School in Detroit, along with youth living in the communities near FCA’s new plant on Detroit’s east side.

“We are thrilled to have this level of support from the FCA Foundation. Their commitment to Big Brothers Big Sisters over the years and the youth we serve has been tremendous,” said Jeannine Gant, Big Brothers Big Sisters CEO and President. “We are particularly excited to support the youth on the lower eastside of Detroit. We will also leverage this grant to recruit adult volunteers (“Bigs”) from the surrounding communities to step up as mentors.”

This grant from the FCA Foundation, supports Big Brothers Big Sisters effort to educate schools, parents and the community about the important role evidence-based mentoring can play to help support the success of students, in particular youth from lower income communities. According to research by National Mentoring Partnership about two-thirds of teens in the highest economic quartile receive some mentoring beyond their extended family, while only about a third of youth from the bottom economic quartile have mentoring support.

“As communities look for ways to support youth facing adverse childhood experiences, such as poverty, low achieving schools, an incarcerated parent, foster care and more, mentoring in schools, churches and youth serving organizations are popping up everywhere. Mentoring using standards of effective practice, like Big Brothers Big Sisters, helps to ensure the efficacy of mentoring so youth receive the expected outcomes”, explained Gant, whose organization is part of a federation of evidence based mentoring. “We spend a great deal of attention screening, training and supporting our mentors to ensure children are safe and reap the benefits of mentoring, such as higher self esteem, better behavior and academic performance.

Defenders of Potential

FCA currently has 28 employees who volunteer as “Bigs” in a Big Brothers Big Sisters worksite mentoring program (now in its third year), where they mentor 29 students from nearby Herrington Elementary School in Pontiac, Michigan. Students visit the Chrysler World Headquarters and Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan twice a month to meet with their mentors. Students participate in youth development activities that promote self-confidence, academic attainment, forward thinking,and soft skills, like communication, team work, creativity and problem solving.

“Mentoring can have significant positive effects on children’s lives, including fostering their social and emotional development,” Christine Estereicher, global chief operating officer for the FCA Foundation said. “We are proud to join Big Brothers Big Sisters and our FCA “Bigs” as they work to defend the potential that is inside every child.”

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit

Since 1974, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit has been a leader in one-to-one mentoring for youth serving Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, annually reaching nearly 1000 youth, 7 - 17 years old. According to Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Survey, one year after being enrolled in a Big Brothers Big Sisters school based partnership students demonstrated statistically significant gains in social acceptance and academics.

To learn more about becoming a partner, mentor or supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, please visit www.bbbsdetroit.org or call 313-309-0500.

About the FCA Foundation

The FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, supports organizations and initiatives that help empower people, build strong, resilient communities and generate meaningful and measurable societal impacts particularly in the field of education.

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