Big Sisters of RI awarded $910,000 grant
Thanks to an innovative non-profit collaboration, Big Sisters of RI has received the largest grant in its history. It’s aimed at helping RI’s estimated 3,889 children who are currently growing up with one or more of their parents in prison.
October 6, 2010
CRANSTON, R.I., -- Hundreds more of RI’s most vulnerable children will now receive support thanks to a federal grant just awarded Big Sisters of RI by the Administration on Children, Youth & Families’ Mentoring Children of Prisoners Grant Program. The grant will oversee the project titled: Big Mentor League: RI’s Coordinated Community Response to Addressing the Complex Needs of Children with Incarcerated Parents.
Big Sisters of RI Executive Director Deborah Saunders called the grant “a big boost towards helping children in the state who need the most assistance.”
Statistics show 63% of the state’s incarcerated parents have less than a high school degree and 8% have less than a 9th grade education. This plus poor housing, unemployment and poor health put parents at risk of incarceration and their children face the same risk factors and may face the same outcomes.
The grant awarded Big Sisters of RI totals $910,000.00 over a three year period. The plan to provide at least 600 RI children with mentors over that time period will be executed in a collaborative effort between Big Sisters of RI as well as The RI Mentoring Partnership, Big Brothers of RI and The Urban League.
Saunders says “all partnering agencies will work collectively to develop a comprehensive training program for mentors, mentees and caregivers, ensuring consistency. Plus, all program staff from partnering agencies will meet bi-monthly to facilitate success of the program. The new mentoring matches will target children ages 4-18.
Arlene McNulty, RIMP’s President and CEO expressed her delight saying, “By working together we can get the results employers want, families want and youth need -- a chance for long-term self-sufficiency and success. And Val Sinesi, Executive Director of Big Brothers of RI says "This grant will enable the Big Mentor League to improve the quality of life of at-risk boys and girls who have an incarcerated parent by providing them with positive adult role models that they can emulate."
Dennis B. Langley, President & CEO of the Urban League of Rhode Island, expresses full support of this interagency collaboration with Big Sisters, the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership and Big Brothers to launch the Big Mentor League. “Through our team work, we are sending a strong message to children of incarcerated parents that adults do care and see them as individuals with bright futures.”
The commitment for becoming a mentor through Big Sisters of RI and the Big Mentor League is 6-8 hours per month for a minimum of one year.
Big Sisters of Rhode Island is committed to positively impacting the lives of children at-risk. Our mission is to reduce each child's vulnerability and enable them to thrive emotionally, socially and academically; to help them grow into a strong and confident young person ready to reach his or her full potential.
Contact: Donna Mac, Community Outreach Coordinator