PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with the announcement of a new celebrity ambassador, WBC World Welterweight Boxing Champion Victor "Vicious" Ortiz. The champion joins a powerful team of supporters of the national mentoring network's Hispanic Mentoring Program, which serves more than 45,000 children nationwide.
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Introduced nearly a decade ago, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Hispanic Mentoring Program goes beyond simple translation by taking a culturally competent approach to engaging Hispanic families in the mentoring process. With committed support from MetLife Foundation, Cargill, The Goizueta Foundation, Univision, Orci and other national partners, Big Brothers Big Sisters is making noteworthy advances in bringing its proven mentoring services to more Latino children, families and communities. This month, in forging a new relationship with Ortiz, the organization is completing new English and Spanish-language public service announcements featuring the boxer, who encourages Latinos to support the organization by volunteering and donating.
"Our commitment to and strategic focus on deepening our knowledge of Hispanic culture, families and communities has allowed Big Brothers Big Sisters to give the nation's fastest growing segment of the population greater odds for educational success." said Karen J. Mathis, president and Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. "We hold ourselves accountable for specific, measurable youth outcomes -- educational achievement, higher aspirations and greater confidence, and risky behavior avoidance."
This year, the U.S. Census reported the nation's Latino population has grown 43 percent in the past decade, accounting for more than half of the country's population growth since 2000. Since introducing its Hispanic Mentoring Program in 2002 at 10 pilot agencies, Big Brothers Big Sisters has seen an average three percent increase in the percentage of Latino children it serves. Currently there are 175 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies enrolling Hispanic children in its mentoring programs, representing 18 percent of all children served nationwide.
The Census also reported that the national Hispanic high-school dropout rate is 21 percent, more than twice the national average. Big Brothers Big Sisters' partners have joined forces with the mentoring network to expand opportunities for Hispanic children that focus on educational success.
This month, Big Brothers Big Sisters recognizes key supporters of its Hispanic Mentoring Program:
-- Big Brothers Big Sisters is pleased to kick off its relationship with new celebrity ambassador Victor Ortiz with public service announcements in both English and Spanish. Ortiz discusses the impact of a mentoring relationship and encourages adult males to become champions for local youths who are in search of mentors as children of color, primarily Hispanic and African-American boys, disproportionately represent those waiting to be matched with Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors. Ortiz will also volunteer his time and resources to assist the organization in public outreach, recruitment of mentors and fundraising activities to support Big Brothers Big Sisters' mentoring programs. Recently Ortiz hosted matches from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County at a special media event as he trains for his September 17 mega fight with Floyd Mayweather.