News

Big Brothers Big Sisters Inducts High Profile Individuals into Hall of Fame, Inaugural Scholarship Recipients Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KNOXVILLE, TN (May 15, 2017) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBSETN) hosted an Inaugural Hall of Fame and Scholarship Award Dinner on May 4th. The event, emceed by Voice of the Vols, Bob Kesling, took place at Neyland Stadium in the Lauricella Center. Hall of Fame inductees included Bill Jolly, Al Williams and Bo Shafer. The BBBSETN Hall of Fame is a platform to recognize those individuals who have been instrumental in providing direction, energy and support to the shaping of BBBSETN since its inception in 1970.

Bo Shafer was one of the co-founders of the organization in 1970 and provided the framework for the agency to serve thousands of children over the past 47 years. Bo was also the first Big Brother, Board Member, Fundraiser and Donor to the agency. Bill Jolly has been a Board Member, Board President, Big Brother to two different Littles, Donor and the founder and champion of the Big Swim, Big Swim II and Big Swim III. Al Williams, the CFO at Bush Beans has been a Board Member on two separate six-year terms, Board President, Big Brother, Donor and author to the book ‘A Friend Indeed’, which all of the proceeds raised from the sale of the book went to BBBS.

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Hall of Fame Inductees:  (L to R) Al Williams, Bo Shafer, and Bill Jolly.

The agency also celebrated and recognized graduating Littles, who are continuing their post-secondary education and will receive a Scholarship from the agency for the next four years. The three scholarship recipients are Katonteoia ‘Kat’ Shields, Jakese Brown and Grayson McGinnis.

Kat Shields has been matched with her Big Sister, Mebbie Jackson, for 10 years! Kat will graduate from Paul Kelly Volunteer Academy in May and plans to attend Pellissippi State and eventually become a Veterinarian. Jakese Brown has been matched with his Big Brother, Evan Hawkins, for three years. Jakese will graduate from Austin East High School in May and attend TN College of Applied Technology to become an automotive technician. Grayson McGinnis has been matched with his Big Brother, Tyler Cornell, for four years and will graduate from L&N Stem Academy in May. He has been accepted at MTSU and plans to be an athletic trainer.

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Scholarship Recipients (L to R): Jakese Brown, Kat Shields, and Grayson McGinnis.

The agency serves over 850 youth annually and hopes to increase the number of youth being served in the following years. For information on the agency and how to volunteer, visit www.TennesseeBig.org or call (865) 523-2179.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN
It is Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN (BBBSETN)’s mission to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Most children served by BBBSETN are in single-parent and low-income families or households where a parent is incarcerated. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, BBBSETN makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).

Contact: Doug Kose
(865) 243-3879
dkose@TennesseeBig.org

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Big Brothers Big Sisters Looks to Recruit 100 Mentors in 100 days

Mary Scott, WBIR 12:08 PM. EDT April 18, 2017

Next month Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is taking on one it’s biggest challenges yet: recruiting 100 mentors in 100 days.

The non-profit matches children ages 6-14 with volunteer mentors who are asked to hang out with their “little” twice a month. Recruiting male volunteers has been a consistent challenge for the non-profit both here and across the country.

“We have so many boys on the waiting list. When you look at our waiting list, 65 percent are boys 35% are girls and they {boys} can wait up to a year or longer to get a big brother,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee CEO Doug Kose.

Kose said he sees boys blaming themselves for not being able to get a big brother.

“At some point they say, ‘Why doesn’t anyone want to be my big brother? What’s wrong with me?’  That’s not the case at all. We don’t have enough men come through the funnel to be volunteers,” he explained.

Jesse Arcoren, 10, has been on the waiting list for the last nine months.

“The reason why I want a big brother is that I have no one to play with,” Arcoren, a fourth grader at Shannondale Elementary, said.

His mom found him a pair of golf clubs at a yard sale and he’s been teaching himself how to play in his yard. He also loves baseball, basketball, fishing, hiking, and climbing trees.

Jesse and his mom, Christina Shipley, moved here four years ago from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Christina tries her best to keep up with his growing love of the outdoors and adventure.

“Where I’ve gotten sick with my health problems, I’ve not gotten to do all the active stuff,” Shipley said, “The biggest missing chunk has been not having a male role model. That’s what I see. I think it really takes a village to raise a child.”

Jesse is adjusting now, but he had a difficult time at first. His mom said he was bullied for having long hair, a tradition in Native American culture.

“He was actually severely bullied because he was different being Native American. He actually has some auditory processing issues that made him a little bit different. Kids just didn’t understand,”
she said.

Jesse already realizes that he could learn from a big brother and he said while he might be shy at first, he would eventually open up.

“I would talk to him like my actual brother. He and me would have the same kind of traits. I would like it because he could teach me lots of things. What to do and not,” he said.

You can learn more about how to be a big brother or sister or nominate a child here.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee Recognized with National Gold Standard Award from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN (BBBSETN) has been named a 2016 Gold Standard Agency by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA). This honor was awarded to 16 out of over 300 Big Brother Big Sisters agencies nationwide. The Gold Standard Award is a way for BBBSA to recognize agencies that have demonstrated exemplarily high achievement and measured quality outcomes for the children and families they serve in their communities.

“I am extremely proud of our staff’s hard work in achieving this national honor”, said Doug Kose, CEO of BBBSETN. We are fortunate to live in a community that cares about children and supports our work to make a difference in the lives of children for the better, forever.”

BBBSETN was the only affiliate agency in Tennessee to receive this elite distinction.

The guidelines for being a Gold Standard Agency include; an increase in number of children served, high rates of Match Support, revenue growth of at least 5% and service to at least 150 children. BBBSETN currently served 801 of its community’s most at-risk children during the 2015-16 service year.

The agency increased its revenue by 16% due to a generous bequest gift, strong community support for its new 5-year individual giving campaign, “Creating Big Futures” and funding to launch a new scholarship fund for graduating Littles. Through successful volunteer recruitment and the launch of the Mentor 2.0 program at South Doyle High School, the agency also created more life-changing friendships between Bigs with Littles.

“I am so pleased with this truly remarkable achievement by our team.  Less than 5% of BBBS agencies get chosen for the Gold Standard out of over 300 nationwide. We have a remarkable team of staff and tremendous amount of board support that make all these things possible. Together, we are making this community better one child at a time”, remarked BBBSETN Board President, Al Williams.

BBBSETN will be recognized in front of its peers during the 2017 Big Brothers Big Sisters National Conference in San Diego, California this June. This award also places the organization in the running for Agency of the Year and Board of the Year, which will be announced at the conference.

BBBSETN thanks its board members, volunteers, donors, families, staff, Bigs and Littles for the dedication, commitment, hard work and support they provide to the organization year round.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN
It is Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN (BBBSETN)’s  mission to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Most children served by BBBSETN are in single-parent and low-income families or households where a parent is incarcerated. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, BBBSETN makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”). It is BBBSETN’s vision to facilitate the success of children living right here in our community.

To see how you can get involved with BBBSETN call 865.523.2179 or visit TennesseeBig.org.

Contact
Alli Damas
Marketing and Events Director
adamas@tennesseebig.org
865.523.9455

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Scholarship Fund Now Available to Graduating Littles

The BBBSETN Scholarship Fund is designed to assist deserving “Littles” that wish to pursue additional education after high school.  The scholarship will be applied toward the student’s financial post-secondary educational expenses.

If you wish to apply, please complete the application and include all required attachments. All applications are due NO LATER THAN March 31, 2017. This provides our scholarship committee ample time to evaluate and determine the recipient(s). Scholarship recipient(s) will be honored during a special dinner on May 4, 2017. Recipient(s) will be notified well in advance of the dinner on May 4 so they can make plans to attend.

Purpose

  • To extend support from Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN (BBBSETN) beyond high school, continuing to assist students in achieving their full potential.
  • To provide financial assistance to graduating “Littles,” enabling them to further their education in a public or private college program, technical college or trade school.
  • To recognize “Littles” who have shown notable personal and academic achievement in high school.
  • To encourage high school “Littles” who are sophomores, juniors, and seniors to complete high school and pursue further education.

Eligibility

  • Nominee must successfully have completed a minimum of 12 months in BBBSETN after age 14.
  • Nominee must have obtained (or will finish this spring) a high school diploma or a GED certificate.
  • Nominee must have applied to a 2-year or 4‑year accredited college or university program, accredited technical college or trade school and intend to enroll within one year of the application deadline.
  • Nominee must enroll in a minimum of 6 semester hours or equivalent.
  • Nominee must have a signed media release on file with the BBBSETN.

For more information regarding the application, award amount and award selection please refer to the application itself. The application can be downloaded here: Scholarship Application
Please submit the completed application to the address noted below:

Big Brothers Big Sisters East TN
Attn: Scholarship Committee
318 N. Gay Street, Ste 100
Knoxville, TN 37917
Fax: 865.524.3466

Reminder, applications should be received in the office no later than Friday, March 31, 2017

If there are any questions, please call Kara at 865.523.2179

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KAMI Starts Mentoring Push

Jim Gaines , USA TODAY NETWORK  

Five Knoxville nonprofits are teaming up to promote mentoring, seeking to attract more volunteers and serve an additional 1,250 youth over the next year.

The program launched Friday under the umbrella name Knoxville Area Mentoring Initiative. Advocates for the program told their stories and urged public participation during a kickoff event at the Regas Building on Gay Street.

“I think everybody in this room probably had a mentor, or somebody who helped you,” Bob Kesling, lead announcer on the Vol Radio Network, said to the crowd of several dozen. Kesling became a Big Brother seven years ago, unsure initially if he had the time. He’s still in touch with the same young man, who is now in college, Kesling said.

“I will tell you, I have gotten much more out of it than he has,” he said. “It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life.”

KAMI is spearheaded by the Knoxville Leadership Foundation through its program Amachi Knoxville. Other participants are Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, the Joy of Music School, Girls on the Run of Greater Knoxville and the YMCA of East Tennessee. It will serve an 11-county area in East Tennessee. KAMI is funded by a U.S. Department of Justice grant, which the Knoxville Leadership Foundation received, foundation president Chris Martin said. Its primary goal is to recruit more people as mentors; that’s always the hard part, he said.

Other speakers told of their involvement in mentoring programs or how a mentor had affected their own lives. Kristin Farley, WATE-TV anchor; Hallerin Hill, WOKY-FM host; Emily Ann Roberts, “The Voice” finalist; and Dave Serrano, University of Tennessee baseball coach, all urged people to join in.

“What does it take to be a mentor? Maybe an hour a week,” Kesling said.

For information on becoming a mentor, go to knoxmentoring.org.

To view article, click here

 

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Chilling Together: Big Brothers Big Sisters Pair Shares Close Bond

By: , maggie.jones@knoxnews.com, Knoxville News Sentinel December 21, 2016

Rich Brown and Kadir Penn may not look like brothers, but there’s no question they are family.

Brown, senior director of development at University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business, and Penn, a 17-year-old West High School junior, were paired by Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee almost five years ago.

Brown recalled the first time they met at Penn’s grandmother’s house. They immediately had a connection.

“He had just come here (from Atlanta), and they just matched us together,” said Brown, while sitting next to Penn at Whole Foods. “I mean I couldn’t think of a better fit.

“I feel like it’s been really good from the get-go.”

Some staff from Big Brothers Big Sisters were there when they met and went over some ground rules; Brown got to know Penn’s family, and they realized they shared a love of basketball.

“He loves basketball, and that’s something we kind of clicked on right away. I played in high school. I’m a little washed up. I’m not at his skill level, but I can work hard right?” asked Brown.

Penn laughs and shakes his head.

“We’re kind of the same,” said Penn. “We don’t do too much. We just chill.”

Brown and Penn also enjoy watching scary movies and comic book movies together.

“Those kind of movies, I want to watch them. My wife doesn’t like watching them, so I’m like ‘Perfect. I’ll take him. We can spend some time together and watch movies,'” said Brown.

Brown is teaching Penn about future goals and going to college.

“We do a lot practical stuff too … We just went and got him a coat the other day. He didn’t have a coat, and it’s obviously cold,” said Brown.

Their relationship grew slowly, according to Brown, and during the second year they were paired together, Penn moved back to Atlanta for one school year. The two of them stayed in touch throughout the time apart.

“I remember telling my wife like ‘I want to keep talking to him at the very least because it’s not going to hurt anything. I want to be in his life, and I can still do it,'” said Brown.

“We basically just like kept in touch,” said Penn. “I would tell him what was going on … and when I came up here, we just went back to hanging out like nothing happened.”

Almost five years after meeting, they now talk about subjects both lighthearted and serious.

“The other day when I dropped (Penn) off, we sat in my truck and talked for an hour, a pretty real, stripped-down conversation about everything … We definitely wouldn’t have covered nearly those bases at first, obviously, because those were personal things, but I know him and his family situation deeply. I feel like he knows me,” said Brown.

“He knows my personal situations that my friends don’t even know … (he’s) truly my little brother,” added Brown.

“It’s been really good,” said Penn. “He helped me with school and stuff. He helped me understand some other stuff I wanted to know about, like, certain things, and he helps out.”

“If he needed me –and he’s called me before– late at night on a weekday, weeknight, whenever it is, I’ll be there. I’ll do whatever I can. If some kind of trouble happens, I’m there,” said Brown.

Penn helps Brown when he needs it, too, especially with directions.

“My wife would tell you, and he knows too. I’m bad with directions. I ask him for directions … he does help me with directions,” said Brown.

Before becoming a Big Brother, Brown helped with the organization’s fundraiser Bowl for Kids’ Sake and said he wanted to serve as a Big Brother because there was a need.

“Just being a part of it that way, I realized there were a bunch of kids on the waiting list, specifically boys, because most guys just don’t volunteer for things. They’d rather sit on their couch and watch football or play video games, so I decided to sign up,” said Brown, who doesn’t have any kids.

He recently won Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee’s Big Brother of the Year Award at the organization’s holiday party on Nov. 30. The award surprised him.

“There’s never been one time in my life where I’ve been surprised (and) … haven’t had an inclination or felt a feeling of what’s going on,” said Brown. “I was totally (surprised).”

“I thought he knew. I was laughing at him,” said Penn.

During the event, the organization told Brown and Penn’s story, and Penn’s mom spoke about Brown to attendees.

“His mom said some nice things,” said Brown. “(Penn) doesn’t say a lot, but I can see it … it was a good moment to be there with him and his mom. That’s not why you sign up to do something, for an award like that, but it’s nice to know that, you know, the time and the work we’ve put in, whether it’s him at school or me in keeping the relationship whether he’s gone or not … it’s nice to know they reward it.”

“What I’m most proud of is (Penn),” said Brown. “More than any accolades or anything, and I’m going to be incredibly proud when he walks across the stage and graduates, when he gets on a college basketball team because it will happen.”

For more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee or volunteering, visit www.TennesseeBig.org or call 865-523-2179.

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Students Award $30,000 in Grant Money to Local Nonprofits

Tennessee Today, November 28, 2016

A group of UT students will award $30,000 among 14 area nonprofits at 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 29, in Room 501 of the Haslam Business Building.

Alex Miller, director of the Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness in UT’s Haslam College of Business.
Alex Miller, director of the Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness in UT’s Haslam College of Business.

The presentation, as well as the process of choosing which nonprofits would receive funds, is part of Alex Miller’s nonprofit management class. Miller is the William B. Stokely Chair in Management and director of the Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness in UT’s Haslam College of Business.

Miller described the course as an opportunity for students to learn through service and experience.

“They very much thought of the funds as their money, which was great,” Miller said. “They struggled in distributing it because they had to weigh their own values against practical considerations about how the money could be spent to have the most impact.”

The nonprofit organizations being awarded the grant money formed four teams to pursue joint initiatives.

The Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Childhelp Children’s Center of East Tennessee will receive $9,000 to support awareness and education about human trafficking.

The Knoxville Leadership Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of East Tennessee, the Joy of Music School, and Amachi Knoxville will receive $8,000 to strengthen collaboration by sharing program designs, strategies, outcomes, strengths, and challenges, as well as attending conferences together and standardizing screening processes across organizations.

Volunteer Ministry Center, Compassion Coalition, the Salvation Army, the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee, and the Benevolence Team of Church Street United Methodist Church will receive $7,500 to provide utility assistance to households in need and mitigate homelessness.

Friends of Literacy, the Great Schools Partnership, United Way of Greater Knoxville, and UT will be awarded $5,500 to expand educational offerings for citizens who lack a high school diploma or equivalent.

The students raised the $30,000 by securing a $10,000 grant from the Learning by Giving Foundation, established by Doris Buffet, sister of Warren Buffet. Jim Haslam and Jim Clayton each matched that grant money with $10,000 gifts. Haslam, Clayton and Ellie Mudge, executive director of the Learning by Giving Foundation, will attend the check presentation.

CONTACT:

Gerhard Schneibel (865-974-2894, gschneib@utk.edu)

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460, tyra.haag@tennessee.edu)

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee receives $25,000 grant from Walmart Foundation

Knoxville Daily Sun, November 18, 2016 at 9:58 a.m.
KNOXVILLE – On Thursday, November 17, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee received a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program to assist with its Mentor 2.0 program. The Mentor 2.0 program focuses on college readiness and success for high school students — particularly those who are slated to become first-generation college students.

“Statistics show mentoring can change a child’s life,” said Doug Kose, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. “And students who have a mentor are 90 percent more likely to enroll in college.”

The Mentor 2.0 program was launched at South-Doyle High School earlier this year with plans to expand it to other high schools in the future. Adult mentors are paired with ninth grade students they mentor throughout their four years of high school. Mentors and mentees communicate through weekly writing activities, discussing important topics such as professionalism, perseverance, self-advocacy, college financial aid, and career choices. In addition to email communication, mentors and students meet in person monthly.

“With the support of this grant from the Walmart Foundation, we’re focusing on the steps it takes to ensure these students become successful adults, which involves more than just academic preparation,” said Whitney Baker, Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor 2.0 program director. “We look forward to growing this program to help even more East Tennessee students successfully navigate the path to a college education.”

“At the Walmart Foundation, we understand that organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee are essential to building stronger communities. They share our values and are committed to helping young people to live better,” said Janet Bales, Walmart store manager and member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters board of directors. “Through this donation, Knoxville youth will benefit from the structured guidance of mentors focused on helping them get to college.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has been transforming the lives of children since 1970 as a member agency of the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States, consisting of more than 350 agencies nationwide.

The Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program supports organizations that create opportunities so people can live better, awarding grants that have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S.

To be considered for support, perspective grantee organizations must submit applications through the Walmart Foundation State Giving Program’s online grant application. Applicants must have a current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in order to meet the program’s minimum eligibility criteria. Additional information about the program’s funding guidelines and application process are available online at www.walmartfoundation.org/stategiving.

Over the last fiscal year, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $35.7 million in cash and in-kind contributions to support nonprofit organizations and programs in Tennessee focused on fighting hunger and healthy eating, workforce development, disaster preparedness and other needs specific to many Tennessee communities. The Tennessee contributions are one piece of the $1.42 billion dollars total giving by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation during FY16.

Published November 18, 2016

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CASH FOR KIDS’ SAKE 2016 RAISES FUNDS FOR BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Knoxville, Tenn. –The fourth annual Cash for Kids’ Sake event, presented by The Graham Corporation and hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS), was held last Thursday at The Standard. Emcees for the evening included: WATE Anchor and former Big Sister, Tearsa Smith, WVLT Sports Anchor and BBBS Advocate, Sara Mitchell and WBIR Reporter and current Big Sister, Becca Habegger.

The event was a Reverse Raffle with a grand prize of $15,000. This year the last ticket in the drum belonged to grand prize winner, Bo Shafer. After being awarded his winnings, Mr. Shafer decided to generously donate all $15,000 back to the BBBS agency. Additional cash prize giveaways and a silent and live auction were held throughout the evening. The program included testimonials from two BBBS agency parents; Afeni Henderson and Zenobia Dobson. Both parents spoke on the importance of mentoring and the impact their children’s Big Brothers made in their lives.

There were over 200 people in attendance to support raising funds to help children who face adversity by pairing them with positive role models through BBBS programs.

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About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (Tennesseebig.org) provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Through these relationships, children achieve success throughout their lives. Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee served more than 925 children in 2016. Through one-to-one mentoring relationships, these children make better decisions about their lives, have a better attitude about school and choose to avoid risky behaviors.

 

Alli Damas
Marketing and Events Director
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN
865.523.9455, adamas@tennesseebig.org

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UT Baseball Coach Hits a Home Run with Volunteer Spirit

By Marco Villarreal | 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – How many baseball players does it take to get a good round of golf in? Sounds like the start of a joke! The good that’s coming out of the diamond and taking over the green for one day is no joke though. The Volunteer Spirit coming out of the UT Men’s Baseball team is impressive.
At the Regas building in downtown Knoxville, Big Brothers and Big Sisters get together with their “Littles” for craft night.
Shyann is here with her big, Young Kim. They just celebrated one year matched up.

“We’ll play ski ball together. We’ll go on hikes together. We’ll just play games together and things like that,” says Young Kim about her Little.

This friendship is possible because of volunteers like Kim. The program can run because of people like Dave Serrano.

“I think everyone can find time to do things that are important. One of the things, getting involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee was my way of giving back to this wonderful community,” says the UT Baseball head coach.

Coach understands the importance of mentoring. Even with his busy schedule he finds time to give back.

“A lot of people think that when our season’s over that it slows down. I think it actually speeds up.”

His annual golf tournament benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee fills up almost every year.

“This money that the golf tournament generates is to be able to reach out and get mentors and get them involved to be a Big Brother Big Sister for these kids that might not have that adult figure around them everyday,” he says.

Coach Serrano’s Volunteer Spirit extends beyond the ball park and into the green. He even gets the guys on his team to help out.

“We involve the whole team. It isn’t just myself. It’s our whole program that’s involved with this golf tournament,” says Coach Serrano.

For the Bigs at craft night they understand the community is coming together to help Littles succeed.

“I’m guessing that he understands how important these programs are for our communities, and especially for the Bigs and the Littles involved,” says Kim.

That’s batting a 1000 with his service!

This is the third year of Coach Serrano’s golf tournament benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. In just those three years over $125,000 have been raised for the organization.

To view the WVLT Video Segment, click here

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