Big Brothers Big Sisters: Back in business
Story by Chris Graham
A budget crisis nearly closed the doors at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge, but several months of hard work from its volunteer board of directors and an infusion of staff talent has the nonprofit thinking big.
“It’s a pretty ambitious goal. This year we want to recruit and match 100 adult mentors with 100 kids,” said executive director Dave Norris at last week’s launch of the 100 Mentors for 100 Kids campaign in Waynesboro.
Big Brothers Big Sisters matches adult mentors with children in single-parent homes who need extra support and attention. The Waynesboro-based agency was in the midst of a growth phase in 2008 and 2009 that had it expanding its operations into Charlottesville and Lexington when the economic downturn slowed donations.
It was all the board could do to keep tabs on its existing 60 adult-youth matches.
“That’s part of what we’re doing here. Today is as much about getting the message about what we do out there as it is anything else,” said board president Sarena Marks. “We want to let the community know that we’re here, that we’re offering these services, getting more children, getting more bigs, and then of course getting the support that we need from donors to sustain the process, to maintain the process and to improve the process.”
The goal of adding 100 matches to the fold in the next 12 months is ambitious, as Norris indicated, but the impact on the community is worth the effort.
“I think I probably get more out of it. It’s not that you say, This is something that I have to do once a week. We look forward to it. In fact, my little brother told me the other day, If I only saw you once a week, that would really stink,” said Kris Losh, the host of WKDW’s “Country Club” morning show and a big brother for nine years.
Losh’s little brother, Dalton, “takes precedence over pretty much anything,” Losh said.
“We do get the opportunity to do a lot of great things, go to ballgames, concerts, that kind of thing. But he enjoys if we’re just sitting around watching a movie or playing ball in the park. Money isn’t an issue. And the time – once you do it once, you try to find the time. It’s that important to you,” Losh said.