Group tries to 'groom men of future' through recruiting at local barbershops

Outreach to recruit African-American mentors

CINCINNATI -- A group of men in Cincinnati visited barbershops in and around Cincinnati on Saturday to talk about the importance of mentoring young people in African-American the community.

"Grooming Men Of The Future" was a co-sponsored event between the organizations African-American Big Brothers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati. Members of African-American Big Brothers visited local barbershops with their Little Brothers to talk about their experiences and the importance of being a positive male role model.

Terence Daniels, current Big Brother and member of the agency’s African-American Recruitment Board—and a former Little Brother—encourages men to step up and mentor one of the 400 boys on the organization's waiting list.

“You are already a mentor. Whether you’re a Big Brother or not, somebody is watching you. Own up to that responsibility and be a Big Brother," he said in a press release from the organization. "Let’s work together to be the right kind of influence to kids in our neighborhoods.”

Former Little Brother and current mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati, Justin Fuller, is asking other African-American men to join him as Big Brothers to local African-American boys. 

The College of Mount St. Joseph grad said "seeing someone who looks like" them is important for young men to see during the crucial formative stage of their development.

"I really feel like just seeing someone that looks like you ... doing well in life and being successful will give you that motivation and the courage to say, 'oh, I can do this,'" he said.

The barbershops that partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters on Saturday were Incredible Creations at 1209 Vine Street  and Preferred Cutz at 1914 West Galbraith Road.

The event and a similar initiative on Oct. 19 were part of a month-long recruitment campaign designed to get men of Cincinnati more involved in the mentorship program. 

From Tuesday Oct. 15 through Saturday, multiple participating barbershops have provided information about mentoring, and encourage their clients to volunteer as a Big Brother to a child in the community. Organizers say they'll continue to actively recruit members through word-of-mouth pitches at the barbershops for the rest of October.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati Needs Your Support

The organization is desperately in need of volunteers throughout the Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana areas. 

In a statement from Big Brothers Big Sisters, they stress that the need for volunteers is critical. Currently, more than 400 children are on the agency's waiting list, with only a handful of potential volunteers.

Big Brothers Big Sisters pairs adult volunteer mentors with Tri-State children who can benefit from a positive role model. The volunteer has the choice to be a part of a site-based program, where they meet with the child at their school or clubs, or they can be part of a community-based mentors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters asks for a one-year commitment from volunteers, although matches may last longer if requested. This long-term mentoring has a proven success record and makes a difference in the life of children.

Kathy List, president and CEO of the agency, hopes the community will rally around the need for mentors.

"Please take a moment to recall someone in your life who helped you, not because they had to, but because they wanted to," List said. "Consider being a role model for a local child in honor of the person who helped you succeed in school and life."

Volunteer applications are on their website: www.bigsforkids.org/site/c.buIUJgNUKjL6G/b.6412397/k.E226/Volunteer_to_start_something.htm

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9 On Your Side's Cierra Johnson contributed to this report.

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