News

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN names new CDO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KNOXVILLE, TN (Feb 12, 2018) — Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has named Tyler Boldin as its Chief Development Officer.

“We are excited to bring Tyler on board to lead our development efforts,” Chief Executive Officer Brent Waugh said. “Tyler’s experience in both the banking and non-profit sectors has prepared him well to secure diverse funding and fulfill the agency’s mission of providing marginalized children with a caring, adult mentor.”

Boldin moved to the non-profit sector in 2016 after 10 years of consumer and commercial banking experience. As the manager of major gifts and leadership giving at The United Way of Greater Knoxville, Boldin identified and built relationships with numerous supporters across the region.

“I am grateful to join the Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee team,” Boldin said. “The greatest investment one can make is to invest in another person, and our programming gives supporters the means to do just that. I look forward to creating lasting change in the lives of young people throughout East Tennessee.”

A University of Tennessee-Knoxville alumnus, Boldin has served as the board president of Character Counts of Knoxville and Knox County since 2015.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee provides at-risk children with strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that change lives for the better, forever. More information is available at tennesseebig.org.

Contact
Alli Damas, Marketing Coordinator
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
865-523-9455
development@tennesseebig.org

adminBig Brothers Big Sisters of East TN names new CDO
read more

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee Names New CEO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

KNOXVILLE, TN (January 23, 2018) — Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN) has named Brent Waugh as its Chief Executive Officer.

Waugh, who joined the agency in 2017 as Chief Development Officer, takes over for Doug Kose, who led the organization from 2013 through January 2018.

“We are thrilled to promote Brent to the role of CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee,” said David Bratcher, board president. “Brent brings a wealth of fundraising and marketing experience in both the higher education and non-profit arenas, and I’m excited to see him continue to apply that expertise to our programs.”

From 2013 until joining BBBS-ETN in 2017, Waugh worked at Northwestern University as director of marketing and communications in the division of Alumni Relations and Development. Prior to Northwestern, Waugh worked in fundraising Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

“I believe in this agency and I couldn’t be more honored to serve as its CEO,” Waugh said. “As a Big Brother, I have seen first-hand the change Big Brothers Big Sisters makes in the lives of area youth and the transformational impact the agency makes on this community. I look forward to continuing the momentum established by Doug Kose and by all the organization’s leaders before him.”

In addition to his work at BBBS-ETN, Waugh is a member of the Knoxville Track Club and the Tennessee Technological University Alumni Advisory Board. He also volunteers for many area organizations, including Keep Knoxville Beautiful and the Fourth and Gill Neighborhood Association.

Waugh earned an M.S. in Journalism and Electronic Media from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and a B.S. in Psychology from Tennessee Technological University.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee provides at-risk children with strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that change lives for the better, forever. More information available at tennesseebig.org.

Contact
Alli Damas, Marketing Coordinator
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
865-523-9455
development@tennesseebig.org

adminBig Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee Names New CEO
read more

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF ETN NAMES MENTORS, MATCH OF THE YEAR

Sabrina Childs, Brent Crabtree, Stephanie Smith receive agency’s top honors for volunteers

KNOXVILLE, TN (Jan. 8, 2017) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has named its Bigs and Match of the Year in conjunction with the agency’s celebration of National Mentoring Month.

Big Sister of the Year: Sabrina Childs

Sabrina Childs is the 2017 Big Sister of the Year. Childs and her Little Brother De’Aries were matched in December of 2011.

Childs chose to mentor a boy after finding out how many boys were on the BBBS-ETN waiting list. Childs and De’Aries enjoy cheering on the Vols, going out to eat, rock climbing, and woodworking.

“I was in a state of shock when I received this award,” Childs said. “I love being a Big Sister to De’Aries—seeing him grow, overcome fears, and accomplish goals. I do hope that more men become involved in this phenomenal program so that fewer boys are waiting for a Big Brother.”

Childs is not only a Big Sister, she’s a member of the Board of Directors and a donor to the BBBS-ETN Creating Big Futures campaign. She also serves on the BBBS-ETN Golf Classic Committee and participates in the agency’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake event.

Big Brother of the Year: Brent Crabtree

Brent Crabtree has been named the 2017 Big Brother of the Year. He met his Little Brother, Deontae, just over three years ago.

Crabtree and Deontae enjoy throwing football, riding bikes, and participating in community service activities together.

Crabtree says he was surprised and excited to be given the Big Brother of the Year award.

“Being named Big Brother of the Year was quite overwhelming, and I think it’s a testament to an amazing organization—Big Brothers Big Sisters—that is truly changing lives,” Crabtree said. “To anyone out there considering being a mentor, I’d say ‘do it.’ Being a Big Brother has affected me in ways I cannot express.”

In addition to volunteering as a Big Brother, Crabtree serves on the BBBS-ETN Fund Development Committee and supports the agency’s Creating Big Futures fundraising campaign.

Match of the Year: Stephanie Smith and Josie

Big Sister Stephanie Smith and her Little Sister Josie are the first-ever BBBS-ETN Match of the Year. Smith and Josie met in March of 2015.

Smith works with her Little Sister to set goals for her life, and says she’s been pleased with how Josie has grown into a responsible and mature youth.

The two love crafting together, and both Smith and Josie say they can talk about anything.

“I am surprised and blessed that Josie and I have been named Match of the Year,” Smith said.  “Josie has and is overcoming so many life challenges, and I consider it an honor to help her navigate this world.”

Recipients of the Big and Match of the Year awards were honored at a private event in December 2017.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change lives for the better, forever. Find out more at tennesseebig.org.

About National Mentoring Month
Launched in 2002 by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, National Mentoring Month focuses national attention on the need for mentors, as well as how each of us—individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits—can work together to increase the number of mentors to help ensure positive outcomes for our young people.

###

Contact
Brent Waugh, Chief Development Officer
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
(865) 243-3880 | bwaugh@tennesseebig.org

 

adminBIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF ETN NAMES MENTORS, MATCH OF THE YEAR
read more

Mentoring Agency Reaches Goal of Recruiting 100 Mentors in 100 Days

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN recruits 100 new mentors, and with its success, decides to extend campaign to recruit additional mentors specifically for Mentor 2.0 Program.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Knoxville, TN. (July 31, 2017) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN (BBBSETN), along with the Save Our Sons organization, is pleased to announce that it has met its goal of recruiting 100 Mentors in 100 Days. By gaining 100 new mentors, the wait time for children on the waiting list will decrease and a majority of the children will be matched with a Big Brother or a Big Sister.

“The City of Knoxville’s Save Our Sons Initiative celebrates the success of our partner’s ‘100 Mentors in 100 Days’ campaign. Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee contributes to positive outcomes for young men and boys of color on a daily basis and their efforts to secure mentors for 100 additional youth highlight their commitment to serving the community,” said City of Knoxville Community Relations Director, Avice Reid. “Statistics show that youth participating in mentoring programs are more likely to stay in school; perform better in school; are less likely to participate in gangs; and are less likely to be involved with drugs, delinquency and the justice system. Mentoring is a strategy that makes sense and SOS looks forward to a long and beneficial partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters that exposes young men to the right kind of adult role models.”

Because of its success, BBBSETN has decided to extend the campaign to recruit additional mentors specifically for its Mentor 2.0 Program. Mentor 2.0 is a technology-enhanced one-to-one mentoring program that provides trans-formative college access support for low-income and first generation high school students. This program makes it easier than ever to become a Big through weekly online communication and monthly in-person meetings.

“The agency is in need of 75 volunteers to mentor the incoming Freshman class at South-Doyle High School starting this Fall. Mentors play a vital role in the lives of these students as they work towards college and career success,” said Whitney Baker, BBBSETN Mentor 2.0 Director.

The campaign’s extension will include BBBSETN and Save Our Sons partnering with the Divine Nine – Barber Shop Project, in an effort to intensify the efforts to recruit more Men of Color and Mentor 2.0 volunteers. The campaign will continue through-out the month of August.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (Tennesseebig.org) provides 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 800 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

adminMentoring Agency Reaches Goal of Recruiting 100 Mentors in 100 Days
read more

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.

SONY DSC

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.

SONY DSC

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

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

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.

adminBig Brothers Big Sisters Looks to Recruit 100 Mentors in 100 days
read more

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

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

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

adminScholarship Fund Now Available to Graduating Littles
read more

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

 

adminKAMI Starts Mentoring Push
read more

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.

adminChilling Together: Big Brothers Big Sisters Pair Shares Close Bond
read more