Bowling Green State University Police and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio are teaming up to connect with Wood County area youth through Bigs in Blue.

Bigs in Blue is a one-on-one mentoring program that builds lasting relationships between first responders and area youth. The goal is to create positive change in the lives of local children by fostering strong bonds founded on trust and understanding.

BGSU Police is the first organization to sign on to the localized program, which is expanding its reach in Wood County.

Chief Mike Campbell said his department was eager to get on board.

“The BGSU Police Department is always looking for ways to make our community a better place,” Campbell said. “Our officers see this partnership as an exciting way to give back, create public good and build positive relationships through one-on-one mentoring with northwest Ohio youth.”

BGSU Police and BBBSNWO have already successfully paired one child with a “Big” and plan to connect more officers and youth in the future. Leaders on both sides also hope to eventually involve others from the BGSU community, including students, faculty and staff members and area businesses.

“I am excited that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio is partnering with the BGSU Police Department in bringing our Bigs in Blue program to BGSU,” said Dr. Marvin Whitfield, president and CEO of BBBSNWO. “Utilizing the power of mentoring to improve relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve will have a long-lasting impact. Now more than ever, it is essential to create opportunities to promote positive interaction and experiences between our law enforcement and youth.”

BBBSNWO and BGSU Police plan to partner on a number of future initiatives aimed at improving outcomes for local youth, including public outings, community events and more.

The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio is to provide one-to-one mentoring relationships between qualified adults and children in order to help children develop into competent, confident and caring individuals. The agency provides services to more than 650 children annually in several different mentoring programs. It is the agency’s vision that every child who needs a mentor gets one.