Dreams grew into reality this month at Serve Denton, with the completion of Phase I renovations of the Assistance Center. Along with the office’s new features, Serve Denton also welcomed its first two tenants. Two Denton agencies have relocated into the Assistance Center and watching the use of the office space has been very rewarding. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Denton County is one of these two agencies. Janemarie Clark, Regional Executive Director of Denton County BBBS, and the other staff has looked forward to the opening of the center and moving into the space since the planning stages.
“We’ll move in tomorrow”, Clark said, responding to the first time she discussed the possibility of the center with the Board Secretary, Pat Smith. Since that conversation, Clark has kept in touch and stayed up-to-date with the progress.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an excellent resource to have in our community, as well as for other agencies in collaboration. BBBS serves at-risk youth and their families and fulfills the social support need in our community.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization that provides one to one mentoring with youth in Denton. There are two types of mentorship in which a volunteer can choose to be, school-based and community-based.
School-based mentors meet once a week during lunch, after school, or during recess. The primary focus is on the academic success of the youth. Community-based mentors focus on academics as well as social skills and helping build self-esteem in the youth they are matched with. Community-based Big Brothers or Sisters are asked to commit to seeing a “Little” twice a month outside of school.
The Denton community profits from an organization like BBBS because they not only focus on the increase of positive outcomes, but they also focus on avoiding negative outcomes. This means the staff and mentors do not solely desire to see youth give back to the community and succeed, but they also want to strive for a decrease in the dropout rate and criminal activity of the youth they serve.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Denton County currently supports over 600 matches. Before transitioning into the center, BBBS would hold in-depth mentor interviews and family meetings in public places such as Starbucks and McDonald’s. The Assistance Center provides the staff members, mentors, and families with a private location to openly share their history and their desire to serve with the organization.
BBBS staff has gained a tremendous amount of support and help with the collaboration provided by Serve Denton. The organization isn’t equipped with emergency resources for their clients, but by collaborating with other agencies, they are now aware of where these resources are in times of need.
“It’s been so affirming to meet these other agencies and collaborate together,” Janemarie Clark said.
Currently there are six Big Brothers Big Sisters staff members that office out of the Assistance Center. The agency estimates they will save $15,000-$16,000 annually by moving into the center. BBBS spends an average of $1,000 a year per child they match. Although saving $16,000 is an advantage, the agency considers the ability to invest in the lives of 16 more youths annually the ultimate benefit of this transition.
Serve Denton is delighted to have Big Brothers Big Sisters office out of the Center and is encouraged by the work of the agency. Serve Denton is eager to assist the organization in any way that is needed in order to help them fulfill their mission.