Who is Dayton Children’s?
Dayton Children’s serves as a referral center for patients within a 20-county area. The hospital is designed with children in mind and has over 200 physicians with a variety of specialties. Dayton Children’s is the only hospital in the area specifically tailored to children and their families. The organization believes their values of safety, compassion, ownership, collaboration, innovation, and equity act as a compass to guide them as they make decisions and provide the best care possible to patients and their families. Dayton Children’s Hospital is supportive of causes within a 20-county service area that help realize their mission of optimal health for all children within their reach.
How is Dayton Children’s Involved in the Community?
Dayton Children’s funds Big Brothers Big Sisters Trauma-Informed Youth Mentoring project. Most often stemming from trauma, more than 90% of the youth we serve through our youth mentorship programs enter our programs having experienced mental health symptoms, such as anxiety or depression. Trauma, and its side effects, can have lifelong impacts. In addition to harmful psychological and physical health impacts, trauma impacts a child’s relationships with their parents, peers, and teachers, making academic success much more difficult to achieve.
The mental health crisis, at its core, is a crisis of connectedness. Often, children facing mental health struggles just need someone they can spend time with and talk to. BBBSMV’s mentoring programs provide just that. Strong support from a caring adult operates as a buffer against the stresses and hardships inherent in life, especially during critical periods of development such as adolescence. Whether going to community events, doing homework together, or just hanging out and talking, over time, our Bigs and Littles build valuable and meaningful relationships that last a lifetime. The Bigs in our program provide their Littles with a sense of stability, purpose, and belonging, all of which are critical to young people’s healthy development and well-being.
Mentoring, especially when paired with our Trauma-Informed Care training for mentors, offers primary and secondary prevention and early intervention benefits. According to a recent study from Prevention Science, youth who have been in a mentoring relationship lasting twelve or more months report significantly fewer behavioral problems and fewer symptoms of depression and social anxiety than non-mentored youth. In turn, mentored youths are more likely to improve their academic performance, strengthen their relationships with family and friends, and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Last year, of the Littles we served through our programs, 92% reported depressive symptoms that had improved or had not worsened. In addition, 94% reported risky behaviors that had improved or not worsened, 88% reported improved self-confidence, 80% improved their school attendance, and 78% improved their overall academic performance.
Since the pandemic, there has been a significant uptick in youth mental health issues. Concerns about a child’s mental health are often what prompt parent/guardian and teacher referrals to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Over the last two years, our agency has experienced a substantial increase in the number of parents/guardians seeking a mentor for their child. Knowing that unaddressed mental health issues in children and adolescents become increasingly more complicated to resolve over time, BBBSMV’s top priority is to secure the volunteer mentors, and funding needed, to provide mentoring services for the vast number of at-risk young people in need.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami Valley
Since 1958, the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami Valley is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters operates under the belief that inherent in every child is incredible potential. We make meaningful, monitored mentoring matches between adult volunteers (Bigs) and local youth (Littles), ages 7 through 18, across Montgomery, Miami, Greene, and Preble counties. As the leading evidence-based mentoring organization in the Miami Valley, currently serving 344 local youth, we help children realize their full potential and build strong futures.
In addition to one-to-one mentoring, we provide group match activities focused on STEM to build confidence and self-efficacy around science, technology, engineering and math subjects and to expose them to various related career paths to help break the cycle of generational poverty. We also provide family care packages which include nonperishable food, personal care items and cleaning supplies to the youth who are in most need.
How Can You Get Involved in the Miami Valley?