“We increase a child’s social capital by giving them someone to defend and ignite their potential — someone who can help them break the cycle,” says O’Farrell, who serves as the organization’s Executive Director.
O’Farrell joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire in 2014 determined to make a difference. The nonprofit impacts more than 2,800 youth and supports more than 15 school districts in the region.
“We have expanded to four mentoring models with five specialized programs like preventing girls from being trafficked and uplifting foster youth. Through this work, we are returning roughly $1.4 million in volunteer hours back to our communities on an annual basis,” she says.
Volunteers, referred to as “Bigs” are the lifeblood of the organization. As such, the need for them is constant.
“The youth we serve only know their three-block radius and are less likely to be involved in activities where mentoring happens naturally. Now, more than ever, we need volunteers — consistent, caring individuals who want to make a real, personal difference in a child’s life. Every additional volunteer means another child has an opportunity to broaden their trajectory through the trust and confidence developed by a mentor, giving the child the support necessary to re-engage in school, set goals and make positive choices that will impact their future,” says O’Farrell.
Even with physical distancing, there are many ways Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire engages with youth. For more information, see www.iebigs.org.