Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana are close to completing their goal of 500 mentors by the Indy 500. The organization currently has 408 inquiries. (Photo/ provided by Rachel Watts)

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana (BBBSCI) partnered with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in March to recruit 500 Bigs by the Indy 500.

This gave the organization over two months to meet their goal, and with less than 20 days until the big race, BBBSCI is close to hitting its target with the current number of inquiries at 408. Bigs are in high demand as the current waitlist of children is over 1,400.

“IMS believes wholeheartedly in the benefits of connection, growth and understanding between a mentor and mentee,” said Allison Melangton, Penske Entertainment senior vice president, in a statement. “Through this partnership, we hope to recruit enough mentors to get the waiting list down to zero.”

According to Darcey Palmer-Schultz, CEO of BBBSCI, discussions of the partnership began in 2022 when IMS invited families, volunteers and kids from BBBSCI to attend the Indy 500.

Through this partnership, BBBSCI can attend events hosted by the Indy 500, which presents opportunities for the organization to talk about its programs and goals for its mentors.

To become a mentor for BBBSCI, interested parties must be at least 19 years old and agree to meet a mentee two to four times a month for one year. For more information on mentor requirements, click here.

“Our hope is that more people will realize how rewarding it is to be there as a mentor for a young person – to encourage them, connect them to opportunities, and benefit from knowing them,” Palmer-Shultz said in a statement.

Contact staff writer Timoria Cunningham at 317-762-7864. Follow her on Twitter @_timoriac.