/PRNewswire/ -- Big Brothers Big Sisters is conducting a nationwide search for a "Big"-hearted American who has earned the title, America's Big Citizen of the Year. Big Brothers Big Sisters is introducing the Big Citizen of the Year award in recognition of National Mentoring Month, celebrated in January.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a lead partner in National Mentoring Month, spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The 2009 theme is "Expand Your Universe: Mentor a Child." Mentoring Month includes Thank Your Mentor Day, which in 2009 is January 22.
America's Big Citizen of the Year is Big Brothers Big Sisters' way of expanding its universe, illustrating that changing how our children grow up in America is a citizens' movement that offers opportunities for everyone to get involved.
America's Big Citizen of the Year will be nominated and selected by the public via BigBrothersBigSisters.org. Nominations will come from Americans throughout the country in the form of a 50-100 word description of how a citizen's deeds and actions have made a positive impact on the lives of at-risk children. The winner will be the nominee who receives the most on-line votes.
"America's Big Citizen of the Year is someone who has found a way to make a big difference in the lives of vulnerable children," said Judy Vredenburgh, president and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. "America's Big Citizen of the Year will be a volunteer, fundraiser, community advocate, police officer, teacher, great neighbor, activist, artist, mentor, Big Brother or Big Sister - an individual whose big acts of kindness, generosity, support and/or selflessness have made huge differences in the lives of at-risk children."
The new award comes as Big Brothers Big Sisters' leaders, donors, professional support staff and volunteers see first-hand the urgent need for what mentoring achieves and how important it is in communities throughout America. With growing economic pressures in families across the country, the need to encourage children to be better students and citizens has perhaps never been greater. Research finds vulnerable or at-risk children who have Big Brothers and Big Sisters are more likely than their peers to succeed in school, behave non-violently and avoid involvement with drugs and other illegal activities. The Big Citizen of the Year award recognizes that successful mentoring takes many supportive people -- families, teachers, religious leaders, coaches, neighbors, philanthropists and so many others.
To nominate someone you know for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Citizen of the Year Award, go to BigBrothersBigSisters.org. Submissions will be posted on the website through the month of January, during which time the public can vote for the citizen they believe is worthy of the award. The Big Celebrity dinner will take place in Miami in June, during Big Brothers Big Sisters' national conference.
Learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters and how you can change how our children grow up in America by visiting BigBrothersBigSisters.org.
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