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Click here to enter my free $196 giveaway for a chance to win 5% of My Personal Finance Journey blog income and give another 5% to a charity of your choosing! Deadline to enter is January 31st, 2012.
A little over a week ago, the points were tallied from the My Personal Finance Journey December 10% Blog Income Give Back. Our Grand Prize winner was Greg K. As such, last Sunday (January 8th, 2012), $37.26 in cash was transferred via PayPal to Greg K. A big thanks to everyone for participating in the December Give Back event!
Having processed the the blog reader portion of the December give back, it was time to turn my attention to the question of which of the 9 local charities listed below would receive the $38.00 charity portion of the give back.
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Virginia
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Blue Ridge
- The Nature Conservancy
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville
- Meals on Wheels of Charlottesville-Albemarle
- United Way Thomas Jefferson Area
- Sexual Assault Resource Agency
- Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA
- Alzheimer’s Association of Central and Western Virginia
After asking our Grand Prize winner, Greg K., which charity he wanted to see receive the $38 donation, he informed me that his choice was the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Blue Ridge. To me, it sure sounded like a great cause I could get behind and would be happy to support.
So, on Friday of this past week, I took a lunch break at the lab and ventured off on my bike to drop off the donation at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Blue Ridge office in downtown Charlottesville.
It was a nice clear January day out, and even with it being a little blustery/windy, it made for a pleasant break during lunch. After biking the ~2 miles from the University where I work to the downtown area, I arrived at the specified office location address (see picture below). The office is located in a very pleasant location in the heart of downtown Charlottesville directly above a popular local bar/restaurant, Zocalo.
|Arriving at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Blue Ridge Office Location|
Upon arriving, I didn’t know quite what to expect as far as what type of facility and/or office they would have. After getting only slightly lost in the upstairs office corridors, I eventually found the entrance to their office (see picture below) above The Downtown Mall.
|After a temporary period of disorientation (aka getting lost), I found the Big Brothers Big Sisters office and headed in!|
Upon entering, I met Becky, Director of Programs for the Central Blue Ridge branch, and handed her the donation check.
She explained to me a little about the background of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Blue Ridge chapter, including how they had recently moved locations from Waynesboro to Charlottesville to centralize their chapter operations after losing nearly half of their operating budget for the 2012 fiscal year as a result of government cutbacks on a three year federal grant they were receiving.
Challenges Facing the Central Blue Ridge Chapter of The Big Brothers Big Sisters
Additionally, she told me that the two primary challenges the Central Blue Ridge Chapter is currently facing is:
- 1) Getting male volunteers interested in being matched as Big Brothers, and
- 2) Tight funding due to the issue mentioned in the previous paragraph.
I found the first issue (having MANY MORE females than males volunteers as “Bigs,” as the mentors are called) fairly intriguing. Indeed, when I stop and think about my friends and family that have volunteered to be part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, they have all been girls/women as well. Therefore, this may be an indication that many chapters face this same issue.
Personally, I can think of three possible reasons why Big Brothers Big Sisters sees more females than males as volunteers.
- First, it could be that women are simply more apt to be volunteers (regardless of the type of organization), and therefore, it’s more likely from a shear numbers perspective that more women will show up to help.
- I know that for me personally, even though I am very good at donating 5-10% of my own money to charity each year and doing fundraisers for charity, I do VERY LITTLE actual volunteer work that involves me donating my time (unless I am using that time to raise money for my fundraiser) since I feel like I don’t have much free time at the end of the day and my work related activities are sufficient to satisfy my “making a difference” life value. However, I do wish I could do more volunteer work at some point!
- Nevertheless, the primary volunteer work I have done where no money fundraising was involved was 1) helping to walk dogs at the local SPCA here in Virginia and 2) being a dog foster at a dog rescue when I lived in Pennsylvania. In both of these organizations, I would say that about 90% of the other volunteers were women. While I’m not certain that we can make universal claims based on my limited volunteering experience, it is a striking result nonetheless.
- Second, it could be that guys are not attracted to being a Big Brother because they are afraid it will make them look too “non-manly” and “soft” in some way or another.
- Third, it could be that more women than men are attracted to being a Big in order to practice some of the skills that would be involved in being a parent (if they don’t currently have a child and want one).
How about you all? In your area, do you think more women than men volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters? If so, why do you think this is?
Also – in general, have you found that women are more apt to volunteer their time and/or money in general than men? Why do you feel this occurs?
Additional Information About Big Brothers Big Sisters Central Blue Ridge
In addition to obtaining some great information from the office staff, I also received a brochure that contained some cool statistics about the chapter as well.
A few of these statistics are listed below:
- 90% of every Dollar donated goes directly to making and supporting Big-Little matches.
- Chapter has been running for 30 years in the local area.
- 77% of Little’s who have reached adulthood reported that they did better in school after the mentoring program.
- For every $1 invested in Big Brothers Big Sisters, communities see a $3.28 benefit through reduced crime.
Overall, it was a truly great experience to see that what we do here at My Personal Finance Journey can have a real life impact. Through this charity give back that you all have helped to make possible, we are able to help another child get matched with a mentor and increase their chances to succeed in life.
So, thank you all for helping with this journey, and remember to always live for a higher purpose and ask yourself what more you can do to help others.