BBBS program finds new home

Register Reporter

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Allen County has a new home.
Jackie Smith, executive director of the mentoring program, signed a lease today for an office at 201 S. State St.
The program had been without a home since a September fire gutted the BBBS office at 91⁄2 E. Madison Ave.
Owners of the State Street building, Jeff and Sandra Galemore of Chanute, are allowing BBBS to use the building rent-free.
“We have to pay utilities and taxes while we’re here,” Smith said.
A number of volunteers will help spruce up the property once BBBS moves in. They plan to repair a nearby fence and paint the building. The paint is being provided by Modern Woodmen of America.
In addition, Smith said, the Allen County program is expanding to include Neosho County, which brings two needs — more mentors and more money. A Governor’s Mentors Grant will allow hiring two more part-time workers, including one to serve Neosho County.
“We had a couple of people from Neosho County ask to be involved,” Smith said. “The grant funding will help make that possible.”
The group is pursuing other revenue streams to hire even more workers, Smith said.
There is still a dire need for mentors, Smith said. As it stands, Allen County BBBS is near full capacity at 30 matches, but Smith said, there are 670 youths considered “at risk” in Allen County. Numbers aren’t yet available for Neosho County.
For information about mentoring, contact Smith at 365-8712.