In 2013, we expanded our mission to do a better job at impacting the communities we cover. We decided to undertake a new set of programs unlike any other Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) agency has undertaken, and created our site-based/school-based mentoring programs. These programs placed older kids in positions to mentor younger kids at their schools or in their communities, which allowed us to impact a community at a deeper, more efficient level.
However, the last few years has proved to be a challenge in sustaining these programs. A recent decline in private donations, changes in grant making, and the fact that we receive no state or federal funding has proved difficult for our agency. Even so, we have continued these programs in the face of increasing odds. We did this because the life-changing impact these programs provided was easily present and so important. Children enrolled in these programs have had major progresses in self-esteem, risky behaviors and academic improvement.
We know how much these programs mean to the youth enrolled in them, but we are at a crossroads in our capacity as an organization to continue to operate the programs. We need your help in order to continue this life-changing mission.
Currently, seven of these remarkable school-site-based programs are in jeopardy of not opening this year. That’s over 200 children in local counties who would be losing their mentor … their role model, that immediate person to whom they look up. Counties affected by this possible closure include; Morgan, Cass, Pike, Brown and Schuyler counties, as our agency operates school programs in all areas listed.
We are kicking off a “Save our School Programs Campaign.” Our goal is to raise $50,000 in 30 days across all of our counties by October 31st to support another year of these impactful site based/school programs. If we can’t raise this amount, we will unfortunately be unable to open these programs.
We are asking for our local media’s help in getting this out to the public. These programs are essential to the youth we serve, and vital to our partnership with surrounding schools. We are asking for PSA announcements, written articles, sharing of information and interviews. Our agency will make sure to have someone available to assist with any questions regarding this plea.
Donations can be made via Facebook at Big Brothers Big Sisters West Central Illinois, our website at www.bigbrothersbigsisterswci.org, or by calling our office at (217) 243-3821. Donations can be specified for a particular county. Will you please help us continue this impactful work? Let’s keep youth mentoring as a key component of education in West Central Illinois. Thank you in advance.
~ Big Brothers Big Sisters West Central Illinois