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.
Support has been provided by the following Funds at the Community Foundation of Broward:
Gay and Lesbian Broward Community Fund
Richard Frisby and Edward Burkhart Fund
Steven Halmos Family Fund
Unwin Moore Children’s Voice Fund
Antoinette Sherman Fund
Frederick W. Jaqua Fund