Vols set to 'Man Up' For Big Brothers Big Sisters

Knoxville, TN - The Tennessee Volunteers huddle up before practice during football practice this evening at Haslam Field. Photo By Kayla Anderson/Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) -- The Tennessee football team is helping a local non-profit, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, raise awareness for the need for more male volunteers.

BBBS and UT football are holding a meet and greet for all the boys on the waiting list to be matched with adult male volunteers in the community. BBBS is launching a PR campaign called `Man Up - Real Men Mentor.' A group photo will be taken on the field at Neyland Stadium on Saturday following the team's practice.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is launching a new campaign to recruit more male mentors in East Tennessee.

The campaign is aimed at attracting more male volunteers. Nearly 65 percent of the children waiting for mentors are boys, but only two out of every ten inquiries about volunteering come from men.

The Man Up campaign launches this month with volunteers and staff members reaching out to partner organizations and businesses to help the agency recruit men to serve as role models to children who are waiting for a Big Brother.

While 65 percent of the children enrolling in the agency are boys, only 31 percent of the nonprofit organization's volunteers are male mentors. As a part of the campaign, the agency
launched a website `ManUpTN.com' and will be utilizing print ads, radio spots, t-shirts and billboards along with Lunch and Learns to let people know about the agency's need for men to become mentors.

"Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee hopes to see an extensive increase in the number of male volunteers through the Man Up campaign," said Doug Kose, CEO for the agency. "The boys on our list will wait an average of 12 months for a Big Brother and we need to close that gap significantly."

The 938 Children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are among East Tennessee's most vulnerable - those who live in poverty, single-parent homes or households where a parent is incarcerated. Independent research finds having a Big Brother or Big Sister improves a child's odds for succeeding educationally and socially and breaking negative cycles.

For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, visit www.TennesseeBig.org or call (865) 523-2179.

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