Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Ad Council are joining the Miss America Organization to announce a national collaboration to promote one-to-one long-term staff supported mentoring to help kids achieve in school and succeed in life.

Miss America Laura Kaeppeler made the announcement during a special tour and luncheon with Big Brothers Big Sisters “Littles” at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center in New York. Kaeppeler, whose national platform is “Circles of Support – Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents,” shared with the mentees her personal story of experiencing her father’s incarceration when she was a child. Nearly a quarter of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentees have a parent who is or has been incarcerated.

Kaeppeler is starring in a series of videos, and using social media, to increase awareness for her platform and introduce Big Brothers Big Sisters as a solution. One video featuring Kaeppeler is featured on AOL.com today as part of AOL’s “You’ve Got” series, and a second video is featured on Big Brothers Big Sisters Facebook page. The collaboration is an extension of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Start Something campaign.

This platform breaks new ground for the 91-year-old Miss America Organization. Previous Miss Americas have championed many important social issues and causes but Kaeppeler is the first to embrace a social platform related to incarceration.

Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler stated, “I’ve experienced the impact of mentoring firsthand and I know it can make a real difference. I try to provide the children that I meet who have come from families of incarcerated parents with a positive light and message to let them know that the past doesn’t have to define them or limit their possibilities for the future. I’m excited to collaborate with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Ad Council to help give more children the support they need through mentorship.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest mentoring network, carefully partners with families, volunteers and communities to help children and teens overcome adversity through one-to-one relationships that help drive achievement in school and success in life.

“We are delighted to have Miss America serve as a role model, supporting our mentees and our mission. As a donor-supported one-to-one staff supported mentoring organization, we need real reminders that mentoring can and does help children overcome adversity,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and CEO Charles Pierson. “Independent studies find that when enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters, children who face adversity are more likely to improve in school, avoid risky/delinquent behaviors and have higher self-esteem and aspirations.”

The nationwide mentoring network’s Start Something campaign, developed in partnership with the Ad Council, was introduced in January 2011 through a website redesign and national TV, radio and online public service ads. Start Something is a call to action for donations; story sharing; volunteers; celebrity ambassador engagement and advocacy to strengthen Big Brothers Big Sisters’ capacity to help children overcome adversity and achieve lifelong success. The Start Something campaign also includes a web series on the organization’s website, which follows mentors, mentees, families and professional staffers – the people who make the program work.

“The Ad Council has been working with Big Brothers Big Sisters for over a decade and with the Miss America Organization for over five years on various collaborations,” said Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “Laura is a powerful and impactful advocate for children, particularly given her personal story, and this collaboration is a wonderful extension of our Start Something campaign with Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

The Ad Council has previously partnered with the Miss America Organization to address issues including childhood obesity prevention, high school dropout prevention and communicating the importance of children spending time outdoors and connecting with nature.

Source: PR Newswire

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