Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago in desperate need of male mentors

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago said it desperately needs men to volunteer to mentor boys and teens in some of Chicago's most at-risk neighborhoods.

The program has been helping at-risk children by pairing them with mentors for the past 50 years. But this year, the head of the organization says they have been hurting for help.

"We had boys frankly that are on there for nearly two years," Big Brothers and Big Sisters CEO Jeremy Foster said.

Foster said they haven't had enough male volunteers stepping up on Chicago's South and West Sides, meaning there are hundreds of young boys waiting for help.

"Imagine the frustration of that and imagine what that does for a young male: 'Does anybody care or want me?'" Foster said.

With crime on the rise in those neighborhoods, Foster said if it's not their mentors helping, others less suited for the job step in.

"Make no mistake, they are being mentored - but they are being mentored by the wrong people. We exist to make sure it's the right people and that's what we need," Foster said.

People like Mike Greco, who has been a big brother with the organization for nearly five years.

"For me to be able to really be connected with my little brother, his family and his community has really opened up my eyes," Greco said.

And Foster said it doesn't take much to create change, but it starts with people wanting to help.

"The call to action is there's men that are out there that I know want to like this, they just don't know how we're here and we'd like to talk to you because our boys need you, our community needs you," Foster said.
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