UCI Connected: Barbra Marangell

Name: Barbra Marangell

Title: Director of Alumni Relations, The Paul Merage School of Business

Volunteer/charity organization name: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County

How do you give back? My husband and I serve as a “Big Couple” mentor to Manuel, an 8-year-old boy. We don’t have children of our own, and were a little nervous about how we would do. But this has been the most rewarding, fun experience, not only for Manuel, but for us too!

Tell us about why this cause matters to you: The goal of the program is to be a friend, role model and positive influence to an at-risk child. Many of the boys in the program do not have positive male role models in their lives and are being raised by single moms. Many parents also do not even have a high school education. A big value that a mentor provides is help and guidance in navigating the higher education process. Of the children enrolled in the program, 98 percent graduate from high school on time, and 90 percent enroll in college.

How can others get involved? The need for mentors, especially men, is great as there are more than 200 kids currently on the wait list! Visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County website to learn about how to get involved, or feel free to contact me if you have questions about what the experience entails.