During “National Mentoring Month,” January, a statewide public service campaign to recruit adult mentors for the Connecticut chapters of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America resulted in more than 600 calls from potential volunteers, double the monthly average, according to Andy Fleischmann, president and chief operating officer of Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, the largest of the organization’s agencies in the state.
The strategy in Connecticut was to have stations broadcast specially produced public service announcements (PSAs) and live and recorded interviews and news features to encourage Connecticut residents to become volunteers.
“The value for this airtime totaled approximately $250,000,” said Connecticut Broadcasters Association First Vice-Chair Kathy Browne, a former “Big Sister” herself. Browne is key account manager for CBS radio stations WTIC(AM/FM), WRCH(FM) and WZMX(FM).
Members of the CBA produced a series of 30-second and 15-second radio and TV public service announcements featuring Connecticut “Big Brother” Tracey May and his “Little Brother” Troy. Many broadcasters produced their own customized spots using their own personalities. Some were in Spanish and all focused on mentoring, during newscasts and talk shows.