March 14, 2023

Campaign aims to find 500 big brothers and sisters by the Indy 500

IMS will help in the campaign to add 500 bigs. (Jill Sheridan/WFYI)

IMS will help in the campaign to add 500 bigs. (Jill Sheridan/WFYI)

A new campaign to bring more mentors into the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana program is underway.

The new effort aims to add 500 mentors by the Indianapolis 500.  Big Brothers Big Sisters CEO Darcey Palmer-Shultz said it’s a big goal.

“We’ve never run a volunteer recruitment campaign this large with such a deadline,” Palmer-Shultz said.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will help promote the effort. In Central Indiana the need keeps growing. There are currently more than 1,300 youth, mostly young Black men, waiting for a mentor.

Tiana Branson has a daughter in the program, but her son is still waiting for a Big. 

“He’s like ‘Mom, when is my big coming?’” Branson said.

The organization wants to sign up 100 groups to hear about the mentor program.  There are also opportunities to volunteer with a partner or friend.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett became a mentor in 2018. He said mentoring makes an impact.

“The question I get from most residents is how can I make a difference,” Hogsett said.

The campaign will end on May 28, the day of the Indy 500.

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