News

Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor program at Knoxville high school, one of 44 in nation

, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee Published 7:58 p.m. ET May 24, 2018

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is working with South-Doyle High School students in a nationwide program that pairs mentors from various businesses and organizations in Knoxville with high school students.

The Mentor 2.0 program focuses specifically on college readiness for high school students.

South-Doyle is one of 44 schools in the country where the program is being implemented.

Frank Benefield, one of the mentors in the program, said it has been a valuable experience for him and his mentee student, Isaiah.

“Isaiah’s learning, but I’m also learning,” said Benefield. “I came in as a student, and that hasn’t changed and it’s not going to change.”

South-Doyle just finished its second year of the program, and mentors and students say they are excited for the third year.

Jake Thomas, a program coordinator for BBBS, has been working specifically with Isaiah and the freshmen at South-Doyle.

“Teens are hard; they are one of the most difficult ages,” said Thomas. “But it’s probably one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had. They make it worth it coming in every day.”

The perfect pair

Benefield and Isaiah were paired up at the beginning of the year, along with 45 other  South-Doyle freshmen and mentors. The selection process isn’t random; the program coordinators spend time matchmaking mentors with their (hopefully) perfect mentee.

“Prior to the school year, we sit down with a big white board of mentors and mentees and start pairing people,” said Thomas.

Mentors talk with their mentees about college and how to get there. Financial aid, professionalism and career choices are regular topics of conversation; however, it’s more than just the logistics.

A digital connection

Most of the communication between Isaiah and Benefield happens through email, which works well for mentors with busy lifestyles. However, they are hoping for more in-person activities.

“I would change the fact that we don’t go out to field trips. If we got a few buses, go take us somewhere, that would definitely help with the closeness,” said Isaiah.

This online communication is an important part of the program, which aimed to attract teenagers in a different way. BBBS sees the highest rate of mentee drop-out when students enter high school. The program helps prevent that.

The in-person meetings are a great opportunity to catch up and expand further on conversations.

“Isaiah is really interested in higher education and wanting to exceed in that arena,” said Benefield. “That’s where I work, that’s where I live. So we have a lot of common interests in that area.”

Benefield, who does a little bit of mentoring in his job as a transition coach at the University of Tennessee, wanted to expand this to more than college students.

“I saw the opportunity through the Mentor 2.0 program to have the opportunity to work with a student before they get to college and start an early relationship,” said Benefield.

Isaiah says that he has really enjoyed the program.

“It has helped me get an older, wiser person’s insight in how (Benefield) became successful. It’s definitely been a great experience.”

Benefield has also benefited, saying he continues to learn through each interaction with Isaiah.

“I was surprised when talking to Isaiah about what it means to be 15 years old. In my head I was expecting one thing, what 15 looked like and sounded like, and it was something totally different.”

Creating meaningful relationships

Big Brothers Big Sisters East Tennessee was started in 1970. It is on track to reach its goal of 1,000 children mentored by 2020, according to a press release.

The program is a collaboration with iMentor, an investment with nonprofit social innovation organization New Profit Inc. BBBS has 91 students enrolled.

Thomas hopes to see these same results in the upcoming years with South-Doyle students. BBBS is hoping to add 100 more students to the program next year, and they’re confident that the relationships formed between the students and mentors are already making a difference.

“Never underestimate the value of your relationship with someone else,” said Thomas.

Thomas and the Mentor 2.0 team are looking for another group of mentors for the sophomore and freshman cohorts at South-Doyle High School. If you’re interested in getting involved, you can visit their website or email Mia King. 

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BOWL FOR KIDS’ SAKE 2018 SURPASSES FUNDRAISING GOALS

Nearly 1,000 East Tennesseans come together to raise more than $125,000 in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Knoxville, Tenn. (May 22, 2018) – The 36th annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake, benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, raised more than $125,000 to support one-to-one mentorship in the Knoxville area.

Bowl for Kids’ Sake, BBBS-ETN’s signature fundraising event, took place in Knoxville, Sevierville, Maryville and the Tri-Cities—nearly 1,000 bowlers, volunteers and community supporters raised money to provide mentors to marginalized children.

The funds raised through the event will allow BBBS-ETN to match more than 125 children with a Big Brother or a Big Sister in the next year.

“Bowl for Kids’ Sake is more than a fundraising event—it’s a celebration of the phenomenal support our community provides to Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee,” said BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh. “Participants not only bowl, they learn about our mission and celebrate the friendships that their fundraising makes possible.”

Big Brother Peter and Little Brother Amari were matched during Bowl for Kids’ Sake and attended the event as their first activity. Peter became a Big Brother because he wanted to give back to his community and help children in need. Amari, who is being raised by his mother, wanted a mentor so he could have another male to talk to and hang out with. The two were matched because both Peter and Amari enjoy being active and spending time outdoors.

Peter and Amari are just one of the many matches that will be made this year through funds raised at Bowl For Kids’ Sake.

Special thanks to the Bowl for Kids’ Sake platinum-level sponsors: Pilot Flying J, First Bank and Clayton Homes. For a full list of sponsors, visit BowlForKidsToday.org.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has been named a Pinnacle Agency by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, placing it in the top 10 out of 300 BBBS affiliates nationwide. The agency provides marginalized children with strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that change lives for the better, forever. BBBS-ETN ensures that the children in its program achieve measurable outcomes, including educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships. BBBS-ETN is in its 47th year of serving area youth through mentorship matches. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.
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Contact:
Alli Damas
Marketing Coordinator
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
development@tennesseebig.org

 

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee named one of top agencies in the nation by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Contact
Brent Waugh, Chief Executive Officer
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
865-243-3879
BWaugh@tennesseebig.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KNOXVILLE, TN (April 23, 2018) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is proud to announce that the Big Brothers Big Sisters Nationwide Leadership Council has identified the agency as a 2017 Pinnacle Award Winner.

The Pinnacle Award recognizes the very best agencies in America for increasing their revenue and growing their overall number of children served, year over year, for two or more consecutive years. In the past year, BBBS-ETN has served 850 children and grown its local services by more than 5 percent.

“The Pinnacle Award recognizes the dedication of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee’s leadership, staff, board, and volunteers to provide the highest quality programming for the children we serve,” said Brent Waugh, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. “It’s also a testament to our donors, whose support of our mission is phenomenal, and truly allowed us to reach this milestone.”

In 2017, the agency served nearly 850 children, on track to reach its goal of 1,000 by the organization’s 50th anniversary in 2020. Additional BBBS-ETN highlights in 2017 include:

-Expanding its innovative, technology-enriched Mentor 2.0 program to a second class at South Doyle High School.
-Awarding the first round of BBBS-ETN scholarships, allowing three Littles to be one step closer to making their higher education dreams a reality.
-Inducting the three honorees into the inaugural BBBS-ETN Hall of Fame class: William “Bill” Jolly, Alex “Bo” Shafer, and Al Williams.
-Launching “Bigs in Blue,” a program that connects mentees with public safety professionals who help with social skills, self confidence, and interactions with family and peers.

“This honor shows how strongly our community supports mentoring,” said David Bratcher, BBBS-ETN board president. “It is also a testament to the hard work done by the agency’s staff, who are committed to making sure more children in East Tennessee receive the benefits of mentorship.”

“We are so proud of the growth that Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has experienced, and we are pleased to recognize that success with the Pinnacle Award,” said Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “We thank Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee for its tireless work in service of our mission and commitment to serving more children in the East Tennessee area.”

Out of nearly 300 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies, BBBS-ETN is one of only ten agencies that will be recognized as Pinnacle Award Winners at the 2018 Big Brothers Big Sisters National Conference in St. Louis, Missouri on June 26.

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. BBBS-ETN is in its 47th year of serving area youth through mentorship matches. More information available at tennesseebig.org.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Big Brothers Big Sisters ensures that the children in its program achieve measurable outcomes, including educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 114-year history. With nearly 300 Affiliates across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters has served more than 2 million children (“Littles”) in the past 10 years. Learn more at bigbrothersbigsisters.org.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters ETN named one of top agencies in nation by BBBSA

Friends,

I have some very BIG news to share!

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is excited to announce that we have been named a 2017 Pinnacle Agency by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. This award recognizes the dedication of our leadership, staff, board, and volunteers to provide the highest quality programming for the children we serve. BBBS-ETN is one of 10 affiliates out of 300 nationwide, and the only in the state of Tennessee, to receive this honor!

Pinnacle Agencies met or exceeded the following goals for the last two years:

  • Served a minimum of 150 children and raised $150,000 in revenue. (BBBS-ETN served 850 children last fiscal year, and we’ve set a goal of reaching 1,000 by 2020.)
  • Achieved a community-based 12-month retention rate of more than 73%.
  • Achieved a site-based 12-month retention rate of more than 52%.
  • Showed growth in active matches—in our case, to 670 active matches.
  • Posted a positive net income at the end of last fiscal year.

With you by our side, we look forward to continuing to achieve our goals, further our mission, and transform the East Tennessee community, one match at a time.

Thank you for making this possible.

Best,

Brent Waugh
Chief Executive Officer
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

P.S. Stay tuned during the month of April as we announce our Pinnacle Award widely, including on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Remembering Edna Mae Geary Eickman

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee remembers Edna Mae Geary Eickman, who passed away on March 19, 2018.

For ten years in the 1980s and 1990s, Edna served as Program Director for BBBS-ETN, where she matched hundreds of children with mentors. Edna won countless awards and honors for her dedicated service, including “Advocate of the Year” by the East Tennessee Council on Children and Youth and recognition by “Tennessee Voices for Children.”

Prior to BBBS-ETN, Edna served as a counselor in the Child Welfare Division of Contra Costa County Social Services, was a member of the National Probation and Parole Association, and the first female to visit San Quentin Penitentiary as the liaison for children in placement, incarcerated parents, and family rehabilitation.

In 1965 and 1967 she and her husband decided to adopt two children, and at that point, she became a stay-at-home mom. During that time, she was very active in the PTA and served as Volunteer Coordinator for the Lafayette School District in Lafayette, CA. After her husband James accepted a position with Knoxville TVA in 1980, the family moved to Knoxville, where she continued on to become the PTA president of Farragut High School.  After putting her life on hold to take care of their children, Edna returned to the workforce as Program Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.

Edna enjoyed traveling, spending time with her family, and most importantly assisting children and families in any way she could. She retired at the age of 85 and passed at the age of 88. Her life and works will always be remembered and honored at BBBS-ETN and beyond.

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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

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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

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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.

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

 

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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

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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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