UNION COUNTY - Union County residents who are seeking a meaningful, high-impact way to volunteer in their community can sign up as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties.

The organization is currently seeking volunteer mentors for its best-known program, Community Based Mentoring. The program involves individual mentoring with a local child or teen, age 6 to 18, with a commitment of just four hours per month for one year. Any resident age 20 or older can apply to become a mentor.

“I have always believed in giving back, especially by those of us who have career and educational opportunities that may seem out of reach to disadvantaged youth,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Only by working together can we move forward as a community, and now is the time to make a real difference.”

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“Our mentors commit to just a few hours monthly, but the impact on a child’s life can ripple out for many years to come,” added Chairman Granados.

The Freeholder Board recently entered into a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters to build the Community Based Mentoring program in Union County.

As part of the partnership, Union County recently launched the Bigs in Blue program, aimed at enlisting mentors from the law enforcement field.

“Law enforcement officers, EMT’s, firefighters and other first responders are always on duty. They inspire our youth by living out the values of community involvement and civic responsibility every day,” said Chairman Granados.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is one of the oldest and largest youth mentoring organizations in the U.S., and it is especially active in the Union County area. Its mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong relationships and positive adult role models.  

Volunteer mentors in the Community Based Mentoring program have the flexibility to schedule their own time. No previous experience is necessary. All mentors receive training and professional support from Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders supports Big Brothers Big Sisters through the Office of Community Engagement and Diversity. The office was established as part of Chairman Granados’s 2018 Moving Union County Forward initiatives for community service and personal empowerment.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters has helped generations of children and teens navigate life’s challenges and grow into confident, capable adults,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “We are looking forward to building the program in Union County and strengthening our community.”

For more information about the Community Based Mentoring program, or to apply to become a mentor in Union County, contact office coordinator Nathalie Hernandez, 908-527-4880 or nahernandez@ucnj.org.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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