CAMDEN — More than 100 youngsters are waiting for Big Brothers and Big Sisters throughout eastern, coastal and central Maine. That’s nearly the size of an entire fifth grade class in most elementary schools.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine is hoping to change that with the launch of a new national rebranding effort focusing on the urgent need to recruit adult mentors from Bangor to Rockland, Waterville to Lewiston, and all the towns that stretch in-between.
The nationally known youth mentoring program unveiled the rebranding in October with more than 300 affiliates across the country. Gone are the soft purple colors and abstract stick figures from the previous logo. In its place, a bold black and electric green capital B, with three interconnected lines that illustrate the parent, the “Little” and “Big” joining together to defend a child’s potential.
According to Executive Director Gwendolyn Hudson, the mission is the same, but the message has become more urgent.
“Our core model of building bridges in communities by connecting one adult with one child and supporting that match at every stage is the same, but the urgency is greater than ever,” she explained. “We want people to stand with us. Help us defend every child’s potential and our role as adults in helping children achieve their best possible futures.”
Hudson said the century-old program needed a modernization of the national brand to make an impact in the community and meet the need of the essential work of matching youth, one-on-one, with mentors.
Months of national research, including focus groups with potential Bigs, as well as current Bigs, Littles, donors, staff and leadership, showed the brand was not effectively connecting with younger, prospective mentors or conveying the urgent mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters. The organization is intentionally pivoting from messages of the importance of mentoring, to the immediate need for the adults in the community to step up to defend the potential of every child.
“We know that youth are facing numerous challenges. Our new brand is designed to help us ensure we can serve more children by recruiting more volunteers,” Hudson said. “The need for young people to have a role model is more critical than ever.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine provides children facing adversity in Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Penobscot, Somerset and Waldo counties with professionally-supported, one-to-one relationships that (can) change kids’ lives for the better.
Littles” in the program achieve measurable outcomes, including better grades in school, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships.
The brand repositioning and new look are just the beginning. In the coming year, the organization will transition to a modern, nationwide technology system, participate in new training, and use the new positioning to refocus efforts on recruiting local volunteers. Hudson said the agency is sharing the new branding in a mailing this month to more than 3,000 supporters, partners and volunteers.
Hudson said the new messaging isn’t asking people to help ‘save’ a child. “We are looking for supporters and caring adults in our communities who are willing to spend a few hours a week to STAND with a child, give them encouragement, and help put them on a road to success,” she added.
Learn more about the new brand positioning, the logo and messaging, and how to get involved at bbbsmidamine.org.