Big Brother program faces financial straits

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Allen County — which will assist as many as 40 area children this summer — is in need of money.
“Our funds will be spent by the end of July,” said Jackie Smith, a member of the program’s Board of Directors.
She and Terry Downing, program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Kansas, spoke about the program’s growth, despite the financial hardship.
“We were funded for 30 children,” Smith said. “With 40, we need another case manager.”
“We’re at a critical stage right now,” Downing added.
A fund raiser is in the works, likely a walk-a-thon in the fall, Smith said.
Meanwhile she and other BBBS advocates will solicit donations from local businesses and other groups.
“We just need some more help, and times are tough,” Smith said.
“And we know that’s true for everybody,” Downing added.
Through Big Brothers Big Sisters, children are matched with mentors in order for the youngsters to develop healthy relationships with adults. The goal is to keep the children in school and away from abusing drugs or alcohol or getting into violent confrontations.
Statistics have shown that children matched with “bigs” are significantly less likely to fall into those situations, according to BBBS of Kansas. Big Brothers Big Sisters offers community-based and school-based matches.
Because the program is certified as not-for-profit, any donations are tax deductible, Smith said.
Donations can be sent to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Allen County, 9 1/2 E. Madison Ave., P.O. Box 704, Iola, KS 66749.