Thursday, May 16, 2013

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Program Helps Oromo Youth Succeed

The following is a press release from the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of the Greater Twin Cities.
First program of its kind in Minnesota matches Oromo children with adult mentors
BBBSTwinCities2012May 11, 2013, SAINT PAUL, MN – Oromo Academic Skills Builders, a new program from Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities (BBBS) and the American Oromo Community of Minnesota, will launch on May 16. The program is designed to help Oromo children learn the skills they need for academic and personal success.
Oromo children ages 7 to 12, many of whom are the children of refugees, will be paired with adult volunteer mentors. Mentors and children will meet weekly at the Liberty Plaza Resource Center in Saint Paul to read, play games and share activities designed to enhance the academic strengths, cultural understanding and developmental assets of each child.
“Mentoring is important, especially for the Oromo community,” said Najaha Musse, BBBS Oromo Program Coordinator. “Oromo kids may struggle academically and socially, and they bare an additional burden of cultural struggle. They have to reconcile their identity in American society.”
An East African ethnic group, the Oromo come from Ethiopia, northern Kenya and parts of Somalia. The largest population of stateside Oromo live in the Twin Cities.
Oromo Academic Skills Builders is “phase two” of BBBS’s Oromo Mentoring Program, which became the first mentoring program in the state to work with this growing minority group when it began last fall.
One-on-one mentoring relationships will help Oromo youths develop the same key assets that are standard for all of BBBS’s mentoring initiatives, namely, improving self-confidence, ability to relate to others, and academic performance.
Adult volunteer mentors, of whom about half are Oromo and half from other backgrounds, are being recruited from among students at local colleges and universities. All mentors receive nationally approved BBBS training to help them work effectively with children.
Individuals who would like to enroll their children or volunteer themselves should contact BBBS. Oromo Academic Skills Builders is made possible with support from The Sheltering Arms, Bigelow, and Marbrook Foundations.
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