Tyson Foods and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America team up to support and connect young people in rural America

Today Tyson Foods and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America are launching a new video that showcases the commitment and collaborative effort from both organizations to support youth in rural communities. The video highlights the importance of one-on-one mentoring relationships that benefit young people–and their families—in communities where Tyson Foods operates: https://www.bbbs.org/2020/05/tyson-foods/.

Over the past two years, funding from Tyson Foods has enabled staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in more than 30 markets to attend the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America National Conference, and participate in intensive training courses that aim to grow the number of youth served in one-to-one mentoring relationships. Thanks to the support of Tyson Foods, local Big Brothers Big Sisters staff members could choose from more than 60 workshops and general sessions on topics such as professional development, diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI), improving program quality, volunteer recruitment, fundraising and board development.

After two years, Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies that have received funding from Tyson Foods have collectively experienced a 50% increase in the number of new mentoring relationships created between a young person (“Little”) and a caring adult role model (“Big”).

“We know there is a direct correlation between investing in staff training and development and longer, stronger Big and Little match relationships,” said Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “The opportunity to attend the national conference and learn from agency leaders and experts from across the country means staff can provide an elevated level of support to our Bigs and Littles, which leads to higher outcomes with each mentoring relationship.” – Pam Iorio, President and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

“We’re proud to support Big Brother Big Sisters and the important role they play in communities where we live and work,” said Garrett Dolan, senior manager, corporate social responsibility, Tyson Foods. “By investing in the professional development of BBBS staff and encouraging our team members to participate in mentoring programs, we hope to have an even greater impact on the most vulnerable youth in our communities.”

There are 240 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies serving more than 5,000 communities across all 50 states. 70% of Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies serve rural communities. On average, each Big Brothers Big Sisters agency that is serving a rural community has a waiting list of 40 or more young people waiting to be matched with a volunteer mentor. In 2018, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America launched the Rural Initiative. The Initiative seeks new supporters and partners to help Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies serving rural areas grow their organizational capacity to serve more youth. The Big Brothers Big Sisters Rural Initiative connects resources from national and global corporations to agencies serving small and underserved communities. These connections are critical to ensure Big Brothers Big Sisters offices that serve rural communities can thrive and serve more children.

Using definitions established by USDA’s Community Facilities programs and the Rural Housing program, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America classifies its agencies as rural if the population size of the agency’s primary service area is 20,000 or less. By this definition, more than 70% of our local agencies are in or seek to help rural youth access one-to-one mentoring services.

While all Big Brothers Big Sisters services are free to the families we serve, there is a cost for our agencies to provide professional support for mentoring relationships, including costs for volunteer recruitment, interviewing the volunteer, checking references, enrolling the Little, creating an optimal match based on personality and interests, and supporting the match by connecting the Little, the Big, and the parent on a consistent basis. The generous support of rural initiative partners, like Tyson Foods, empowers Big Brothers Big Sisters to pair more young people with a positive, caring adult role model through life changing one-to-one mentoring relationships.

About Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods, Inc. is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has 141,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit TYSONFOODS.COM.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Founded in 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is the largest and most experienced youth mentoring organization in the United States. The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ evidence-based approach is designed to create positive youth outcomes, including educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence, and improved relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters has 240 local agencies serving more than 5,000 communities across all 50 states. For more information, visit: www.bbbs.org.