Philadelphia, PA February 14, 2012: District Attorney Seth Williams is joining with District Attorneys from across the Commonwealth to help make a difference in young people’s lives. Mentor relationships have long played a vital role in changing perspectives and building strong communities. To create and strengthen more of those relationships, District Attorneys throughout Pennsylvania announced today they will help recruit 100 new Big Brothers and Big Sisters for at-risk youth on waiting lists across the state.
100 Years 100 Mentors is a special partnership between the PDAA and Pennsylvania Big Brothers Big Sisters as part of the observances of the 100th Anniversary of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA). The goal is to recruit 100 new mentors statewide from within the ranks of district attorney offices and partners in the community.
“As District Attorneys, our first responsibility is to prosecute criminals, but we also believe in doing our part to prevent crime from happening in the first place,” said Francis Schultz, PDAA president and Crawford County District Attorney. “Mentoring relationships are proven to make a difference and as district attorneys we are hoping to make a difference in our communities by helping to recruit more mentors.”
The partnership between PDAA and Big Brothers Big Sisters was a natural fit according to Schultz. The two groups share an interwoven history. The Big Brothers Big Sisters movement was founded in part by an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia over 90 years ago.
“Mentoring has a proven track record of making a difference in children’s lives,” said Ted Quali, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Big Brothers Big Sisters. “Mentoring changes the trajectory of a young person’s life away from the dangerous behaviors that can lead them down an unfortunate path in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. No group understands this more than District Attorneys and the PDAA, and we are thrilled to partner with them.”
Independent research has shown that youth in the Big Brother Big Sisters program are 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27% less likely to begin using alcohol, and 52% less likely to skip school.
“In Philadelphia, we have seen what happens when children have positive role models in their lives and we’ve seen what happens when they don’t,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “My colleagues throughout Pennsylvania can tell you the same thing which is why we are committing to do our part through this recruitment effort.”
“If we can change perspectives, we can change lives and our communities,” Schultz concluded.
Big Brothers Big Sisters maintains 26 agencies across the Commonwealth.