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March 14, 2023

Pressley Celebrates $250K in Federal Funding for Big Sister Boston

Funding to Support One-to-One Mentoring & Enrichment Programs for Girls

Rep. Pressley Previously Served as a Big Sister Mentor

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BOSTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) visited Dorchester to celebrate $250,000 in new Community Project Funding she recently secured for Big Sister Association of Greater Boston (Big Sister). Rep. Pressley was joined by Big Sister President & CEO Annissa Essaibi George, mentors and staff for a roundtable discussion about how the funding will support Big Sister’s one-to-one mentoring and enrichment programs for girls.

“These resources are direct investments in our people, and will have lasting benefits for our young girls, our families and communities. When our girls have abundant resources and mentor-rich communities, they can build a positive sense of self, acquire social-emotional skills, navigate challenges, and maintain greater mental health and resilience,” said Rep. Pressley. “As a former mentor at Big Sister, I was honored to celebrate this funding and look forward to continuing my partnership and collective efforts with Big Sister.”

“This federal funding will allow Big Sister Boston to both broaden our reach to serve more girls,” said Big Sister President & CEO Annisa Essaibi George. “Today’s roundtable highlights the importance of providing our girls with positive one-to-one relationships with a caring adult.”

“Mentoring provides leadership skills that are entrenched in nurturing and love,” said William Monroe Trotter K-6 School Principal Sarita Thomas. 

Joining Rep. Pressley and President Essaibi George at the roundtable were: Sarita Thomas, Principal, William Monroe Trotter K-6 School; Ylva Duke, Manager of Site-Based Mentoring, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston; Mai Roberts, VP of Community Relations, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston; Dr. Charmain Jackman, PhD., Founder, InnoPsych; Dr. Renee Spencer, EdD, Professor and Chair, Human Behavior, Research, and Policy Department at Boston University’s School of Social Work; and Holly Durso, 2022 Big Sister of the Year.

Prior to her time in Congress, Rep. Pressley served as a mentor at Big Sister Boston and launched ABC- Ayanna’s BIG Challenge, a year-long initiative to recruit Big Sisters and mentors for young people living in the Boston neighborhoods with the longest waiting lists for adult mentors.

Rep. Pressley secured the federal funding for Big Sister in the recent government spending package that passed Congress and was signed into law by President Biden in December. Rep. Pressley secured millions for 15 community projects across the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District in this major Congressional appropriations bill, capping off nearly a year of advocacy by Rep. Pressley and local leaders.

Throughout her time in public service, Rep. Pressley has been a champion for young women and girls and has consistently supported policies and investments that support their learning and allow them to thrive.

In 2021, Rep. Pressley introduced the STRONG Support for Children Act to take a holistic and community-based approach to addressing the growing crisis of childhood trauma.

In 2021, Rep. Pressley led her colleagues in re-introducing her Ending PUSHOUT Act to end the punitive pushout of girls of color from schools and disrupt the school-to-confinement pathway. She also introduced the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act to invest in safe and nurturing school climates that support all students and bring an end to the over-policing of our nation’s K-12 schools. These bills are informed by Rep. Pressley’s People’s Justice Guarantee and is a continuation of her longstanding history of working to address issues of criminalization during her tenure on the Boston City Council.