Jennifer Gutierrez: Building Villages To Help Raise Children


According to the U.S. Census, by 2030, Hispanic youth and other youth of color will make up more than half of the nation’s labor force.

The new face of our country’s workforce needs the support that creates pathways toward opportunity. Mentors play an essential role by stepping up in their communities to support Latino children in helping them achieve personal, academic, and professional goals.

Meeting the moment is Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago

Jennifer Gutierrez, Brand Ambassador with BBBS was a guest on the program, “3 Questions With…” hosted by Hugo Balta, publisher of IL Latino News.

Gutierrez talked about her organization’s mission of creating and supporting one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

BBBS offers Community and Site Based Programs: Each volunteer (Big) is matched with one child (Little) to spend quality time with each other, sharing local culture, exploring new educational opportunities, or developing new skills and hobbies.  

For more information on how to be a “Big”, click HERE.

For more information on how to be a “Little”, click HERE.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, seeks to make cultural connections that help “Littles” achieve their full potential by recruiting more Latino “Bigs” who speak Spanish. “Es muy importante,” she said as she described in Spanish that the mentors’ language proficiency (in Spanish) is not only necessary in building a relationship with the mentee but also with their families.

Gutierrez, a mother of four, shared how, as a parent, it was vital for her to have support not only in raising her children but also for herself as a person. “As soon as I become a mother, I realize how important it is to have people backing you up, in your corner, part of your village,” she said.

The experience of being a parent gave her a different perspective on the types of resources necessary in raising children and the realization that many families lack them. “So, I got involved in my kids’ schools, part of the LSC council (Licensed School Counselor), fundraising team. Now the work that I do (with BBBS), I can honestly, wholeheartedly say that I do believe in our mission that it takes a village to help support and raise children.”

Studies show that supportive, healthy relationships formed between mentors and mentees are both immediate and long-term and contribute to a host of benefits including increased high school graduation rates, healthier relationships and lifestyle choices, and decreased likelihood of initiating drug and alcohol use.

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