The Seattle Seahawks, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and Lumen are committed to supporting the healthy development of youth in our community. Through the Spirit of 12 program, 12s can support four non-profit organizations and their inclusive youth programming, which is needed now more than ever. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation matches contributions made by the 12s. This year's partners include Special Olympics Washington, Treehouse, Outdoors For All, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
During the pandemic, local youth and families have experienced ongoing challenges, including social isolation, greater dependence on technology for school and social experiences, and hunger. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound (BBBSPS) is a Seattle Seahawks Spirit of 12 partner that has responded to these needs by offering expanded support and critical resources to help participants in its programs.
The mission of BBBSPS is to create and support 1-to-1 mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. In response to the pandemic, BBBSPS's transformational mentoring mission has shifted to connecting youth and their volunteer mentors virtually, by phone, and via mail to provide relationship continuity and create 300 new mentor-youth matches this year. Now, more than ever, a caring mentor is an important source of social and emotional support for kids separated from school, friends, and group activities.
With support from donors throughout our community, and funding from the Spirit of 12 program, BBBSPS has kept kids and mentors connected and helped meet needs heightened by the pandemic. This spring, BBBSPS established a Fresh Market to address food inequity and serve families in King and Pierce counties. During the first month of the program, BBBSPS distributed 170,000 pounds of food (the equivalent of 142,000 meals). In addition, as school resumed, BBBSPS staff provided back to school supplies and continuing coaching/guidance for parents and mentors on how to support and guide youth through online learning platforms.
"As we continue to adapt and innovate through our new reality, our program staff and mentors have gone above and beyond to help our kids and families navigate these times," says BBBSPS Interim President & CEO Lydia Muniz. "Partners like the Seattle Seahawks and the NFL have made it possible for us to not only sustain mentoring relationships but to also attract and recruit needed mentors for the 600 kids on our waiting list. We are grateful to the Seahawks Spirit of 12 program for its continued support of our mission and for recognizing the positive impact we have in developing tomorrow's future leaders."
With an emphasis on virtual mentoring and matching, BBBSPS is serving over 1,250 youth and families this year. To volunteer, enroll a child, or learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, please visit www.InspireBIG.org.