Big Brother\'s Of Greater Indianapolis

American families were once thought of something that might resemble a 1950’s
sitcom. Marriages meant forever and children never knew the realities of life
outside of little league and sandlot football. Yet, over time, this idea has
become distorted, showing that the "Brady Bunch" scenario is really far
fetched in itself. Families today do not fit the ideal mold of a structured
family with 2.5 kids and a dog. Families today are more realistic, facing the
realities of life,meaning divorce, death, desertion, and even mental and
physical problems. Big Brothers of Greater Indianapolis represents one of over
five such organizations whose sole purpose is to provide idealistic role models
to single-parent families. By making life better for children, youth, and
families, the Big Brother program is striving to prevent serious behavioral and
personality problems that often inhibit a structured childhood (BBGI Annual

Report, 1997). While these relationships are based on the idea of understanding
and friendship, it also becomes important to evaluate whether such an
organization provides the youth questioned with a more complete life. To many,
the statistics speak for themselves. Joe VeneKlause (Personal Interview, 1999) a
caseworker for the Big Brothers of Greater Indianapolis points out that the
presence of a caring and supportive adult mentor does make a difference. "With
solid research and planning, Big Brothers of Greater Indianapolis is planning
and discovering new and expanded ways of meeting the needs of Big Brother youth
(VeneKlause, 1999)." In 1995 research about the organization was conducted by

Public/Private Ventures. The purpose of this research was to determine whether
such programs helped kids in the aspects of saying no to alcohol, drugs, as well
as being more confident in their schoolwork and performance. Research continues
today and into the future with the "Strategic Plan 1998-2003." The idea is
to broaden awareness of Big Brothers of Greater Indianapolis and its success to
get more people involved (Venick, 1997)."The agency’s mission from the
beginning has been to make life better for all single parent children bases on
their continued accessed need. We will continue to incorporate solid planning
and research until every need is met (Venick, 1997)." While research proves
the overall effectiveness of the organization, the criteria for choosing the Big

Brothers must also be considered. Role models are a good thing for anyone to
have, yet they must represent "good role models." Screening process for the

Big Brothers of Greater Indianapolis includes background checks, three
well-reputable references, and an interview with an experienced social worker,
as well as a copy of your driving record. The information provided is intended
to find candidates that will provide excellent role models. "Each of the Big

Brothers goes through a screening process, not only for safeguarding reasons,
but so that the organization can establish if their character meets the
standards of what we are looking for (VeneKlause, 1999)." Through such
criteria, it is possible to judge the character of a person, and ultimately
whether they would serve as a good mentor and role model. These reputable young
men who are chosen will in turn, serve as role models, not only for their little
brothers, but for the community as well (Kessler, 1999). The Big Brothers of

Greater Indianapolis is an organization founded on the idea of helping others.

Through evaluating its strengths, it is easy to see that very few weaknesses can
be found. Through the interview with Joe VeneKlause, as well as further
researching and exploring the daily process of the organization, it is obvious
that the dedication and relentless efforts of each member is never less than one
hundred percent. Just like a team, an organization such as this, is only as
strong as its weakest member. These weaknesses occur only because the need
exceeds the supply. There are currently four hundred and fifty children in the

Indianapolis area alone that are on a waiting list to receive a Big Brother
(Kessler, 1999). While the organization is doing everything that it can, they
are still in need of help and more Big Brothers. The process takes time, but the
organization hopes that awareness, as well as the satisfaction of knowing you
have made a difference in a little boy’s life will ultimately prevail. "The
community has been really supportive of our efforts in the past and we hope that
this trend will continue to grow in the future, because there is more of a need
now (for Big Brothers) than there ever has been (VeneKlause, 1999)." Big

Brothers have to deal with a variety of problems that can sometimes be
emotionally and physically