La Jollan Paul Palmer, CEO/president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County, spent the last 10 years growing the agency from serving 230 children to 1,707 children in 2012. Palmer has also worked to increase revenue to assist even more children. To that end, he has changed his role with the agency to full-time senior vice president to focus on finding men willing to become Big Brothers and on finding resources to fund the matches.
The board of directors appointed Deborah Condon, executive director and COO of BBBS, to succeed Palmer, allowing him to deal with the two critical needs.
“It is the desire of everyone at BBBS to devise and execute strategies that break through the barriers pre- venting men from choosing to volunteer,” Palmer said. “Our first effort of the new year is to ask men to ‘Man Up’ in a state-wide campaign centered on the recruitment of male volunteers to become Big Brothers. This inaugural campaign will be the first time the association of California agencies have worked together to harness their collective reach to significantly reduce the number of boys who are waiting for a Big Brother in California.”
Across the state, Big Brothers Big Sisters is experiencing a critical need for men to volunteer. With an average of 68 percent of boys on the waiting list for mentors and only 37 percent of male inquiries to volunteer, boys are waiting an average of 275 days before receiving a Big Brother. Locally, the situation is more acute, with boys waiting an average of a year and a half.
The requirements to volunteer are: age 18 or older, have a Social Security number with no criminal background and be available to volunteer for at least one year.
“We hope men will take the next steps and attend an orientation to find out how rewarding it is to simply play sports, go on a hike, eat pizza or share your interests with a child who needs some encouragement,” Condon said
In San Diego, Big Brothers Big Sisters works with ages 7-18 through six programs. For more information, call (858) 536-4900 or visit