Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County recently launched BIGPride, new initiative specific to the needs and vulnerabilities of LGBTQ+ youth. BIGPride provides a trusting, confidential, one-to-one relationship between LGBTQ+ mentees and mentors through site-based mentoring.
While Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County has always served LGBTQ+ young people, the organization launched this initiative to be more intentional in helping these youth, who typically face a unique set of challenges, especially related gender identity development and parental and peer acceptance.
As a result of these issues, according the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), LGBTQ+ teens are six times more likely to experience symptoms of depression and are four times more likely more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm.
Through BIG Pride, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward hopes to provide an outlet for a mentee to explore and share issues regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity in a safe, non-judgmental, supportive and empowering environment.
“The goal is to for mentors to help LGBTQ+ youth live fuller, happier and more productive lives,” said Ana M. Cedeno, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County.