GRANTEE SPOTLIGHT & BEYOND THE CHECK OPPORTUNITY: 2019 & 2023 Grantee Big Brothers Big Sisters

Two-time Grantee, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS)of Cumberland & Salem Counties sees Impact100SJ members as a path to their success.

BBBS of Cumberland & Salem Counties has received two Impact100 South Jersey grants in four years. In 2019, they were awarded our Core Mission grant of $100K to help launch their new Mentor2.0 project which uses iMentor technology to match high school students with mentors. This year, they were one of two 2023 recipients of a $55,500 general operating grant. 

The BBBS mission is “to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of young people. Their vision is that all youth achieve their full potential. They partner with parents/guardians, volunteers, and others in the community and hold themselves accountable for each child in their program achieving: (1) Higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships, (2) Avoidance of risky behaviors and (3) Educational success.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor2.0 program is a technology‑enriched, one‑to‑one youth mentoring program that supports students working toward high school graduation with a post-secondary plan. Mentor‑mentee pairs receive professional relationship support with a focus. Pairs communicate weekly (via a secure web‑based platform) and monthly in‑person events.

BBBS is proud to be the only organization that offers the Mentor2.0 program within the state of New Jersey. This is possible due to the 2019 IMPACT100 South Jersey grant. That initial program is still running strong at Cumberland County Technical Education Center (CCTEC), and is now partially funded by the Dean and Zoe Pappas Foundation. 

How One Impact100 South Jersey Member Is Making A “Beyond the Check” Difference

BBBS of Cumberland & Salem Counties makes it easy and convenient to participate as a mentor in their Mentor2.0 program. Just ask Impact100 SJ member Valerie Buickerood (pictured above on right) who has been a mentor in the program since December 2022. 

Buickerood, who has always enjoyed working with young people, was searching for the right opportunity to help one create a path to a fulfilling future. After learning about Mentor2.0 through our chapter, she was eager to learn more when she saw an announcement recruiting mentors. Even though Buickerood lives in Camden County, the program makes it easy for her to commit to helping a young person as far away as Vineland, a community in deeply rural South Jersey where resources and volunteers are hard to come by.

Buickerood is matched with a CCTEC junior Luz (pictured on left) who hopes to be first-generation college graduate. “Luz is a highly motivated, hardworking, intellectually curious young woman who deserves a shot at realizing her dreams,” Buickerood shared. “Luz impressed me from the moment we met. She is personable, interesting, fun to talk with about all sorts of topics, shares personal and educational goals and concerns with me, and has expressed gratitude for our friendship. We work through weekly lessons and chat regularly on the iMentor platform, and my monthly trip down to CCTEC for a 2-hour, in-person meeting with other mentor/mentee pairs has been a delightful experience.”

Buickerood went on to say that helping Luz create a vision for her future and a plan to make it happen is enjoyable and so rewarding. “From talking through her interests and goals, to researching colleges, to helping edit her personal statement for college applications, to coaching her on interviews for her summer job search, the whole program feels like a minimal commitment with a really big return.” 

BBBS of Cumberland & Salem Counties is currently recruiting mentors to be matched this Fall with high school juniors for a three year commitment. You can help them maximize their grant and go “beyond the check” as a mentor. To learn more about becoming a mentor in their Mentor2.0 program, contact Sharon Krementz, Mentor2.0 Program Manager at 856.692.0916.

To learn more about her personal experience as a BBBS mentor, email Impact100SJ member Valerie Buickerood at valbic59@gmail.com. She’ll be happy to share more about this rewarding experience!

Upcoming BBBS of Cumberland & Salem Counties Mentor2.0 Info Sessions:

  • Thursday, July 27, 2023 – 5:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Monday, July 31, 2023 – 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 2, 2023 – 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 3, 2023 – 5:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, August 4, 2023 – 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 8, 2023 – 5:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.