by Senator Ross Romero
During the last Legislative Session, I and Senator Hickman were asked to speak to a gathering of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Utah (BBBSU) who were enjoying a field trip at the Utah State Capitol. Senator Hickman and I shared with the group how we became involved in public service, some of our goals, and why we thought service was important. During this brief interaction with the group, I was impressed with how committed the Bigs were to their Littles and the bonds that were developed through these relationships. I saw first hand how important this mentoring relationship is in helping the youth in our community have a role model to look up to. Some important information about the Littles includes:
82% of children served in Utah are from families without two parents (single, parent, grandparent, or other guardian-led homes).
82% are from low-income homes.
52% are minorities.
BBBSU will provide Bigs to almost 1,700 children in need throughout the state of Utah.
A recent study conducted by a national research firm Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) examined the impact of the BBBSU program on youth and found that when compared to their peers, Little Brothers and Little Sisters who met with their Big Brothers or Sisters for at least one year were:
46% less likely to start using drugs.
27% less likely to start drinking.
33% less likely to act violently.
52% less likely to skip a day of school, and earned higher grades.
Recently I learned I was the highest bidder of four 10th-row tickets to the sold out Stadium of Fire 4th of July Concert with Miley Cyrus. As much as I like the idea of going to the show to heckle Glenn Beck (the host of the event), I thought some Littles might appreciate the concert opportunity more than myself. I therefore contacted BBBSU and have donated the four tickets so some Littles might see their “superstar” peer. I hope this donation idea might catch on with others who have tickets this summer which conflict with travel plans and which might therefore be donated to BBBSU.
If you have any interest in learning more about BBBSU, please review their website at: www.bbbsu.org. If you have “extra” tickets of your own you would like to donate this summer, please contact Kim Sharples at 801-313-0303, Ext. 135, or if you’d like to make another kind of donation, please contact Merridith Ferne at 801-313-0303 Ext. 124 or email her at email@example.com.