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Grant for BIGPride Initiative Allows Big Brothers Big Sisters To Better Serve LGBTQ+ youth


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County recently received a $55,000 grant from The Community Foundation of Broward for BIGPride, a mentoring initiative specifically designed to serve the needs and vulnerabilities of LGBTQ+ youth.

Big Brothers Big Sisters allocated some of this funding to hire Jennifer Becker, a 15-year veteran of the nonprofit world and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, as the director of BIGPride.

Jennifer Becker, BBBS BIGPride Director

“We’re thankful for the funding provided by Community Foundation of Broward in support of our BIGPride initiative and are grateful they’re standing with us as we serve these vulnerable youth,” said Ana M. Cedeno, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County.  “We’re also thrilled that this grant has enabled us to hire Jennifer Becker as Director of this important initiative.”

Becker, a Fort Lauderdale resident, comes to this new position from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami where she served for 8 years, most recently as director of match support and previously as director of the Southeast Florida Mentoring Enhancement Program. Prior to joining Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, Becker was the director of groups and director of operations at Christ Journey Church in Miami.  She brings 15 years of expertise in program management to BIGPride as well as a deep knowledge of the Big Brother Big Sisters program to her new position.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Becker also brings a wealth of practical experience to the youth served by BIGPride.  She has experienced firsthand some of the unique challenges that come with being gay, regarding parental and peer acceptance, and religious and workplace reception.  She is ideally positioned to understand and assist BIGPride mentors and youth in the development of a trusting, confidential, one-to-one relationship through site and community-based mentoring.

“All of our youth need support to achieve their full potential,” said Cedeno.  “Through one-to-one mentoring relationships, we ignite their power and promise and open their eyes to all they can be.  This is particularly true of LGBTQ+ youth, who have a unique set of challenges,” said Cedeno.

According to research reported by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, more than half of the estimated 3.2 million youth in the United States experience one or more factors that place them at risk of not developing into healthy adults.  Documented risk factors include: stigma and bias, victimization and bullying, parent and family rejection, homelessness and placement into child welfare systems.

“With Jennifer at the helm, BIGPride will help LGBTQ+ mentees successfully find their way to adulthood by offering opportunities to explore and share issues regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity in a safe, non-judgmental, supportive and empowering environment,” added Cedeno.

About the Community Foundation of Broward

Founded in 1984, the Community Foundation of Broward helps families, individuals and corporations create personalized charitable Funds that deliver game-changing philanthropic impact.  453 charitable Funds represent more than $197 million in assets, distributing $100 million in grants over the past 34 years.  The Community Foundation provides bold leadership on community solutions and fosters philanthropy that connects people who care with causes that matter. The Foundation empowers visionaries, innovators and doers to create the change they want to see in the community – and to BE BOLD. www.cfbroward.org

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.  The organization partners with parents, guardians, volunteers and others in the community and holds itself accountable for each child in its program achieving: higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships, educational success and avoidance of risky behaviors.  For more information, visitwww.bbbsbroward.org or call (954) 584-9990.