NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN
KNOXVILLE, TN (March 16, 2020) This week has brought challenges for all of us, across the country and right here in Tennessee. Yet – as I learn more than I ever imagined about pandemic protocols and terms like social distancing – I have never been more proud to be part of the talented team at Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, and part of this supportive community.
Over the next few months, this agency – much like many nonprofits here and across the country – will be faced with tough decisions. But, with unique problems, we have the opportunity to craft unique approaches, to innovate.
Starting this week, for the first time ever, BBBS-ETN will interview volunteers and lead orientations via videoconferencing software. And, our team who is currently working remotely, will interview youth in need of a mentor on calls and video. Perhaps most importantly, our Match Support Specialists will continue to serve as a hub for hundreds of families – providing resources for those who may be affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, and anxiety due to the uncertainties related to COVID-19.
Now, perhaps more than ever, the mission and the impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters are evident and urgent. And as we continue to navigate the myriad of challenges we anticipate (and many we haven’t yet anticipated) in the coming months, I want to reassure you that BBBS-ETN will be guided by a purpose and a plan:
• If you’re a donor, know that your funds will be used responsibly as we continue to serve hundreds of youth and their families during this time of need.
• If you’re an event registrant, we’ll prioritize your safety, and we will keep you up to speed on the latest developments on Bowl for Kids’ Sake and all events at TennesseeBig.org/COVID19.
• If you’re a mentor, we’ll provide resources for your Little and their family, as well as information to help you stay connected during this time of limited social interactions. • And, if you’re in the process of becoming a mentor – though we’ve put a temporary halt on Match meetings, we’ll continue providing orientations, processing applications, and conducting background checks.
Finally, I want to say thank you. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for believing in the kids we serve. And thank you for standing beside us for the last fifty years and now, as we face the challenges ahead.
P.S. Our leadership team will evaluate the COVID-19 situation on a daily basis. We’ve even set up a website to track the status of all committee meetings, orientations, Match events, fundraisers, and events in the months of March, April, and beyond. For more details, visit TennesseeBig.org/COVID19. We’ll also continue to keep you up to date on our social media channels—Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.