First of its Kind “Be’chol Lashon Big Brother Big Sister” Program
Be’chol Lashon, in partnership with the Jewish Board of Family & Children’s Services, is proud to announce the launch of the first Big Brother Big Sister program aimed at ethnically, racially and culturally diverse Jews. For over a hundred years, the JBFCS Big Brother Big Sister program has been making a difference in the lives of American children by providing mentorship and support through one-on-one relationships. Dana Mindlin, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Jewish Big Brother Big Sister Program in New York, commented that the program has positively benefited children and volunteers and we are excited to be expanding in this new direction. Josh Rothstein (pictured), a Be’chol Lashon Jewish community leader who worked with Be’chol Lashon to develop the new program in New York, commented, “Growing up bi-racial in the Jewish community, it would have really helped me as I was developing my Jewish identity to have a Big Brother who understood the complexities of my identity.”
In launching the new initiative, JBFCS is responding to the growing awareness of the diversity that is integral to Jewish life in New York. A recent study indicates that 1 in 4 households identify as non-white or Sephardic. As Lacey Schwartz, Be’chol Lashon’s Director of Outreach explained, “The program is a natural outgrowth of the work we have been doing with adults in the New York Area and provides a great opportunity for people to give back.” The goal of the program is to give the future generation of Jewish children positive role models so that they can grow up with a strong Jewish identity that reflects the fullness of who they are. The program is actively recruiting children between the ages 7 to 16 years old, as well as Big Brothers and Sisters. Adult volunteers are carefully screened and paired with children who share common interests, backgrounds and compatible levels of religious observance. Friendship is the essence of the relationship between Bigs and their Littles. Activities include playing ball, going for a walk, arts and crafts projects, or visiting a museum.