Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region

Communications and Social Media Specialist


Project Goal: The goal of this project is to begin to build a a systematic approach to addressing the mentoring gap by strengthening the fabric of the mentoring community. This will be achieved by strengthening MPRC’s position as a thought leader driving the regional conversation on the value of expanding availability of high quality mentoring to serve greater numbers of low-income, at-risk youth in the Philadelphia area and creating Mentoring Champions to spread the message of the power of mentoring and bring more resources to the many programs looking to strengthen their efforts.


Agency Information


Agency Mission
To provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported, one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Address  123 South Broad Street, Suite 1050
Philadelphia PA 19109-1043

Total number of Agency Staff Members  73

Agency Budget  6208950

Job Description

The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:         

  • Research, create, and generate content on youth mentoring for the digital and real-life sphere, including but not limited to blog posts, social media posts, op eds, and partner spotlights.
  • Manage MPRC’s social media accounts and website for delivery of content, as well as all communication software including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hootsuite, Constant Contact, and WordPress.
  • Manage MPRC’s participation in wider communications campaigns with stakeholders, such as National Mentoring Month, #MentorIRL, #ThankYourMentor, and the Coach’s Mentoring Challenge.
  • Develop or enhance one local advocacy campaign for youth mentoring.
  • Work with the Executive Director and the Communications team to plan for and build systems to support MPRC’s effort to be a Thought Leader in youth mentoring in the Philadelphia Region with the overall goal of building awareness of the impacts of high quality mentoring and best mentoring practices across sectors and bringing more resources to the mentoring field.
  • Other duties as assigned, including:

o   Conduct outreach to engage new Mentoring Programs/Groups and Mentors, media                                   partners.

o   Support MPRC’s Training, Technical Assistance, Quality, Data Collection, and Peer Group                       Engagement efforts.

o    Participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region’s agency-wide initiatives.


Skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position:    

Academic: Bachelor’s degree required

Professional: One year of experience working in a nonprofit environment and/or a communications role preferred. Knowledge of and/or experience in communications, youth development, mentoring, and/or partnership development.

Preferred skills: previous experience in youth service organizations and working with socio-economically diverse populations, and experience or course work in communications.

Personal attributes: Applicants should be hard working and motivated.  Excellent writing skills are required.  Applicants should also be able to conduct internet research, edit copy and be confident in their public speaking skills.  Must be strategic, organized, creative, problem-solving, flexible, collaborative, adaptive, and take initiative.

Community Need

Specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address:

Philadelphia is home to 130,800 low-income children, 63,500 (20% of Philadelphia’s children) of whom live in deep poverty (PCCY [Public Citizens for Children and Youth], Left Out: The Status of Children in Philadelphia County, October 2016). According to the CDC, 59% of Philadelphia children live in single family households ( Low income youth and those in single family households are more likely to experience poor life outcomes such as dropping out of school, to cause or become pregnant during adolescence, to experience more violence and crime, have poorer job opportunities, and poorer health outcomes (KIDS COUNT Data Book, 2016). These risk factors are also associated with involvement in the juvenile justice system. In 2013, 4,900 Philadelphia youth had a juvenile court delinquency disposition (Annie E. Casey KIDS COUNT Data Center, 2013-2014).  Research consistently demonstrates the beneficial impact of having a caring, committed adult mentor to help at-risk youth to overcome obstacles, avoid risky behaviors, and envision a successful future (Lerner, Brittian, and Fay. Mentoring: A Key Resource for Promoting Positive Youth Development. MENTOR, 2007).  In one study, mentees appreciated that their mentors helped “them stay on track in school and make good choices, and [provided] consistent support.” (Bruce and Bridgeland, 2014). Another study of 1,300 high-risk mentored youth found “that mentoring benefited youth’s emotional/psychological well-being, peer relationships, academic attitudes, and grades” (p 4), with the most significant benefit being decreases in depressive symptoms. (Herrara, DuBois and Grossman, 2013)  However, only a small proportion of youth in need are engaged with a mentor. More than one-third of American youth, approximately 16 million, will never have an adult mentor.  Youth with more risks are less likely to have “naturally occurring” mentors from their families and communities and are more likely to enter formal mentoring programs, such as BBBS.  Youth in mentoring programs are often from families with low-incomes, live in poor neighborhoods, and have academic and/or behavior challenges.  Many are at risk for or have already experienced juvenile justice involvement, substance use, truancy, childhood traumas, community violence, and racial discrimination (Bruce and Bridgeland, 2014).  Mentoring Partnership Resource Center’s (MPRC) parent agency, Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region (BBBSIR) is the 3rd largest Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring agency in the country, serving 7 counties in Pennsylvania and NJ, with approximately 3,800 children per year in one-to-one matches.  But extrapolating from national data, we estimate that there are 157,923 children in the 4-county Philadelphia area who will not have a mentor during their youth (ages 8-18). MPRC has documented that there are 135 mentoring programs in the Philadelphia area.  To serve all those Philadelphia children in need, each program would have to provide mentors for 1,170 youth; given that is not achievable in the foreseeable future, it is critical to be focused in efforts to strengthen and expand mentoring programs.  There is particularly a significant unmet need for mentoring among low-income boys of color. MPRC aims to prepare organizations to serve the needs of these youth, or empower organizations to refer among themselves if they cannot serve the needs of a client. With the additional support provided by the Philly Fellow Communications and Social Media Specialist, MPRC will become the thought leader driving the regional conversation on the value of expanding availability of high quality mentoring to serve greater numbers of low-income, at-risk youth in the Philadelphia area and creating Mentoring Champions to spread the message of the power of mentoring and bring more resources to the many programs looking to strengthen their efforts.


How the new capacity created by this fellow will help strengthen the community and alleviate the problem:   

While there are over 130 youth mentoring agencies in Southeastern PA, until 2015, when MPRC was established, there was no umbrella organization to serve the needs of these organizations. Thus far, MPRC has exclusively focused its efforts on building the capacity of mentoring organizations to serve more youth with evidence-based practices, leading to improved outcomes in the following areas: 1) Education – improved school attendance, academic achievement, and graduation rates; 2) Safety – enhanced skills in nonviolent conflict resolution and harm reduction; and 3) Behavioral health – improved self-esteem and self-confidence. All of these outcomes will contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty for at-risk youth.  Beginning in 2017, as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region’s Strategic Plan, the agency is implementing a plan to further its reputation as a “recognized expert in the field of youth mentoring, so it can advocate and offer credible counsel. The long-term strategy is to help as many youth as possible to ensure that effective mentoring is expanded in the BBBS Independence foot print.  Importantly, the Mentoring Partnership and Resource Center (MPRC) will serve as both a catalyst and instrument to move this work forward.”  With MPRC taking on the critical role of amplifying the agency voice in advocating for mentoring, a Philly Fellow Communications and Social Media Specialist can have a pivotal role in jumpstarting these efforts.  The Philly Fellow Communications and Social Media Specialist will generate thought content by writing articles, blogs, program profiles to be shared via social media and other methodologies (such as Op-Eds, speeches by agency leadership) to create knowledge and generate enthusiasm for mentoring.  The Philly Fellow Communications and Social Media Specialist will share information she or he is exposed to through direct conversation with service providers, policy leaders, board of director members, funders, mentors, mentees, and other key stakeholders.  By being a force to spread the message of the critical role of adult mentors in shaping positive futures for children in poverty, the Philly Fellow Communications and Social Media Specialist will significantly contribute to broad efforts to build programs that are proven to lead to anti-poverty outcomes.


Level of community involvement in the fellow’s project:

The Fellow’s project will have a medium degree of community involvement: the Fellow will play a major role in reaching out, and collaborating with dozens of youth mentoring organizations in the region to elevate digital and real-life discussions on high quality mentoring. This high quality content may come from the research and evidence that exists but we have yet to harness, and from the field of practitioners who are innovating and responding to the needs of their communities everyday. The Fellow will interface with mentoring programs serving diverse constituents in multiple Philadelphia neighborhoods. She/he will be expected to solicit interviews, success stories, and data from partner agencies, demonstrating cultural competence as well as responsiveness to community needs.


The organization’s experience operating anti-poverty programming of this nature:

BBBS SEPA has 100 years of experience providing quality one-to-one mentoring to at-risk youth. Over the years, we have adapted our proven service delivery model to target the needs of special populations, including children with incarcerated parents, youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and victims of peer-to-peer violence. A large majority of the children and youth we serve live at or below 200% of the poverty line. Many live in under-resourced urban neighborhoods and attend struggling public schools. We provide extensive training to our volunteer mentors on the unique life challenges faced by low-income children and families. Our training includes modules on cultural competence, trauma-informed practices, advocacy, crisis intervention, and partnering with parents and other family members.  Additionally, MPRC is an affiliate of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, which celebrated 25 years in November 2015. MENTOR’s mission is to fuel the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships for America’s young people and to close the mentoring gap for the one in three young people growing up without this critical support. MENTOR supports 26 affiliates nationwide, including MPRC. The combined history and service delivery models of BBBS SEPA and MENTOR make us well-equipped to advance the anti-poverty mission of the Philly Fellows program.


Fellowship Logistics


Fellow orientation plan:

The Communications and Social Media Specialist will participate in a comprehensive, week-long Agency new hire orientation led by the BBBS SEPA Human Resources department, including in-person and online training modules in agency history, policies and procedures, organizational structure, programs and services, child safety, diversity, and more. The Fellow will also receive direct on-the-job orientation and training from her/his supervisor during the first two weeks of employment, including building an understanding of the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring.


Name and title of the fellow’s immediate supervisor:  Abigail Ellis; Executive Director, Mentoring Partnership & Resource Center


Plans for supervision of the fellow:

The Communications and Social Media Specialist will report directly to the Executive Director of the Mentoring Partnership & Resource Center. There will be regularly scheduled, weekly 1-to-1 supervision meetings as well as ongoing daily task supervision and collaboration.


Will fellow be working at the same address listed above? 



Will the fellow have their own…             

Office?  Fellow will not be provided with           
  Fellow will have their own
 Fellow will have their own


The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…

Independently  50%          

As a team member in a group setting  30%

As a team leader in a group setting   20%


Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position?  Yes

If so, how often and where?   The Fellow will be expected to travel within the Philadelphia Region several times per month to meet support training and other special events hosted by MPRC, meet with youth serving organizations, and other meetings as needed.


Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…

A driver’s license?  No

Their own car?   No