Mayor Buttigieg kicks off mentoring initiative to fight youth cr - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Mayor Buttigieg kicks off mentoring initiative to fight youth crime


It's been a little over a year since former Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps made a big push to end youth violence.

A big piece of his plan was to round up 500 mentors by the end of the summer of 2012.

Now, the city is stepping in with a similar plan.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg jumpstarted a campaign today to find 500 people who are willing to be mentors for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program or donate money to help the effort.

"He taught be how to snowboard, he taught be how to snowboard last year. He also gave me some tips on how to do shot put," says Izaiah who has a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Davis has seven siblings, but he says he doesn't see them much.
He says having a "Big Brother" like Gavin Ferlic has helped fill that void.

"Before I had a big brother, I was quite antsy in school. I was always getting suspended because of my attitude. But when I first got my big brother, he would talk to me about what I did wrong and how to fix it," says Davis.

Ferlic says he gets just as much out of the mentorship as Izaiah does.

"He's one of the best shot putters in the city for his age. I never knew how to shot put. He taught me how to do that. He's a really great kid and it's a privilege to be part of the organization," says Ferlic.

And that's why Mayor Pete Buttigieg is making a call for mentors. "Mentoring works. That's the bottom line."

Buttigieg says the proof is in the numbers.
He says overall academic achievement improves in 80 percent of kids with mentors and negative behavior drops significantly.

"We already have a mentoring system that works in our community with BBBS. This is simply about finding the resources in terms of people's time and financial resources to grow what they're already doing," says Buttigieg.

South Bend Police Chief Ron Teachman is also a mentor.

He says major crimes are down 15 percent in the city from this time last year.

There's been one murder, compared to five, but he says there's still a lot of work to do and mentoring can certainly help.

He says the cycle of violence needs to end and for young people without role models in their lives, it won't end unless someone steps up.

"We incarcerate more people in American than any other country in the world, per capita. We can't arrest our way out of the crime problem. We need something that's preventative, and we know that mentoring works," says Teachman.

Teachman says 75 percent of federal prisoners and three out of five state prisoners are high school drop outs.

He says studies show when kids are mentored, they do better in school and that keeps kids out of trouble.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is really in need of male volunteers. If you'd like to help by either mentoring or donating money visit

The Mayor also wants to bring South Bend Education Foundation's Dream Team program into this in the fall, which is Digger Phelp's program.


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