Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County celebrates 50 years

Littles from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County program at an Art Prevails Project gathering. (Big Brother Big Sisters of Broward County)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – On October 1, 1973, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County opened its doors with the traditional community-based mentoring program, which matches an adult with a child.

Since that day, the organization has served 50,000 young people.

Darius Daughtry, now a successful 47-year-old, signed up as a Little Brother in Broward County when he was just 8 years old.

“Being a little opened up my world.  At a time when I needed positive male role models, that’s exactly what I got.  When I needed to see that there was more to the world than what was in my immediate surroundings, my big showed me that,” Daughtry said.

Darius Daughtry speaks at the Big Brothers Big Sisters state conference in Fort Lauderdale. (Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County)

As an adult, Daughtry has always wanted to have a positive impact on youth, in part because of his experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

After spending time as an educator, he founded the Art Prevails Project.

With the mission of strengthening communities, particularly those that are underserved and historically disadvantaged, and by investing in people through literary and performing arts, Daughtry provides his services pro-bono to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward youth, so he’s come full circle.

“Darius is an impressive example of how mentoring programs empower youth to defy all expectations and achieve extraordinary feats,” said Malena Mendez, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County.

“His journey is a testament to the transformative power of mentorship and the limitless potential that lies within every young mind. It is gratifying to know that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward played a role in his incredible personal achievements, and his commitment to giving back in a BIG way to our organization during this 50th anniversary year is remarkable,” Mendez added.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward currently serves 1,100 youth through several programs including “Bigs in Blue/Bigs with Badges,” which recruits police officers, fire fighters, military and public service professionals to help mentor youth in their local communities.

If you’re interested in participating, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward’s one-to-one mentoring model asks for parents, children and volunteers to give a 12-month commitment to develop a life-changing mentor relationship.

Each month the organization asks that Bigs and Littles spend a minimum of 4 hours a month together. Click here to learn more.

About the Author:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.