(Jan. 30, 2007) -- CBS, the NFL and Big Brothers Big Sisters have joined forces to create a 15-second public service announcement highlighting the importance of mentoring to debut during Super Bowl XLI airing on CBS Network Sunday, Feb. 4. In a Super Bowl first, the in-game PSA will feature the two coaches whose teams are competing in the game. The roughly 90 million viewers who tune in to watch the game will see Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears underscore the importance of mentoring by referencing their real-life mentoring relationship.
These extraordinary role models, the first African-American head coaches to bring their teams to the NFL's biggest game of the year, exemplify the power of mentoring. Dungy, who waited more than 10 years for an opportunity to be a head coach, was the person who gave Smith his first NFL job. Smith considers Dungy his mentor and they speak to each other every Monday morning.
"We are thrilled to be partnering through CBS Cares with the NFL and Big Brothers Big Sisters to bring the year's largest television audience a positive message about mentoring" said Martin Franks, Executive Vice President, Planning, Policy & Government Affairs, CBS Corporation. "We had long ago decided we wanted to showcase mentoring, and ideally do so with the team coaches during the Super Bowl, so we felt like we won the lottery -- or in this case, the Super Bowl, given the actual mentoring connection these coaches share."
"It is truly exciting to work with the NFL and CBS to highlight the tremendous need for African-American and Hispanic mentors for the many boys who are waiting and to provide information to viewers on how to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters," said Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters. "The Super Bowl coaches are a terrific example of how mentoring can change a person's life," she continued, "and we appreciate their endorsement."
Tens of thousands of boys and girls are ready to be matched with mentors through Big Brothers Big Sisters and other mentoring organizations. Unfortunately there aren't enough adults, especially men, to fill that gap. This lack of having a trusted friend, advocate and caring adult in the formative years can spell the difference between achieving success in school and beyond or becoming another heart-breaking statistic such as a child lost to drugs, alcohol, prison, a child adrift with no future.
Research studies on Big Brothers Big Sisters matches clearly show that children who are part of mentoring programs benefit in concrete, positive ways. They are 52 percent less likely to skip school, 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs than their peers, and 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol than those without a mentor.
The PSA, which debuts during the Super Bowl, will be aired on CBS throughout the week following the game. CBS Cares will make the PSA available, without CBS branding, to any broadcasters interested in airing it.
About CBS Cares
At the heart of CBS' public service commitment is the multiple award-winning CBS Cares campaign, which consists of PSAs created by CBS and featuring talent from a wide array of programming. These PSAs have addressed numerous causes, including Alcohol Abuse, the Arts, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Breast Cancer, Child Abduction, Child Advocacy, Children's Health, Colon Cancer, Depression, Diversity/Tolerance, Drug Abuse, Education, Epilepsy, Heart Disease, HIV/AIDS, Identity Theft, Menopause, Mentoring, Obesity, Osteoporosis, Parenting, Prostate Cancer, Schizophrenia, Suicide Prevention, Violence Prevention (including Spousal and Child Abuse) and the V-Chip. Some PSAs refer viewers to CBSCares.tv, which has been described by the Harvard School of Public Health as a "breakthrough web site." With Network PSAs as its fulcrum, CBS Cares has been built into a public service project, now involving every media asset of CBS.
About the NFL
Formed in 1973, NFL Charities is a nonprofit organization that enables NFL teams and their players to contribute collectively to charitable causes on a national level. NFL Charities, which has approved more than $80 million in grants to more than 250 different organizations since its inception, donates approximately $10 million in grants annually to support the work of current and former NFL players and to provide funding in the areas of education and youth services and sports-related medical research.
About Big Brothers Big SistersBig Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is the oldest, largest and most effective youth mentoring organization in the country. It has been the leader in one-to-one youth services for more than a century, developing positive relationships that have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of young people. The nationwide support for the organization, in both volunteers and donors, has never been stronger and the number of children served nationwide has doubled in the last few years. Yet, the surge in volunteers has been disproportionately female and too many boys are waiting for a Big Brother. Men are needed to help these kids develop their self confidence, stay in school and reach their potential. Getting together a couple of times a month can make a tremendous difference in a child's life. In 2006, Big Brothers Big Sisters served 250,000 children, ages 6-18, in all 50 states. The national offices are located in Philadelphia.