Latest News

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Announces Local Agencies and Boards of the Year.

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

Local Leaders Help Create Life-Changing Mentoring Relationships for Children

TAMPA, FL (June 29, 2020) Big Brothers Big Sisters of America recognized six exceptional local agencies on June 26 during its Annual National Conference, which was held virtually June 15-26. These agencies have demonstrated outstanding leadership and have increased the number of children served in their communities. Each one has also made key strategic decisions that have resulted in innovation and growth during the past year.

Those selected were recognized for: increasing the number of children served, the quality and length of each mentoring relationship, and increased revenue, all key components needed to ensure agencies can continue help more youth who want—and need—a mentor in their lives.

“Our Network of 240 agencies is strong because of the commitment of the agency leaders, staff and Board members who make it a priority every day to defend the potential of youth across the country,” said Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “We also applaud these outstanding agencies for their innovation, and their ability to pivot when faced with challenges.”

Agencies of the Year

The winning agencies have focused on growing the number and maintaining the quality of mentoring relationships between caring adult volunteers (called ‘Bigs) and youth (called ‘Littles’).

Large Agency of the Year: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts [Boston, Massachusetts]

Mid-Large Agency of the Year: Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee [Knoxville, Tennessee]

Small-Mid Agency of the Year: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Sierra [Cameron Park, California]

Robert M. Kommerstad Boards of the Year

By guiding staff and shaping programming, agency boards also have a profound impact on the success of the agencies in their communities.

Large Agency Kommerstad Board of the Year: Big Brothers Big Sisters Central Carolinas [Charlotte, North Carolina]

Mid-Large Agency Kommerstad Board of the Year: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast, Indiana [Fort Wayne, Indiana]

Small Agency Kommerstad Board of the Year: Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana [Bloomington, Indiana]

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Founded in 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is the largest and most experienced youth mentoring organization in the United States. The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ evidence-based approach is designed to create positive youth outcomes, including educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence, and improved relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters has 240 local agencies serving more than 5,000 communities across all 50 states. For more information, visit: www.bigbrothersbigsisters.org.

Media Contact:

De Anna S. Ward

Director of Marketing and Communications

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Deanna.ward@bbbsa.org

813.380.9677

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee to stream 24-hour funding marathon.

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (June 23, 2020) Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee will host Game for Kids’ Sake, 24 hours of digital gaming on Sunday, June 28, from 12am to 11:59pm.

Only the second digital event in the agency’s history, after the successful Mentor 2.0 Signing Day, the marathon is a rescheduled pivot of BBBS-ETN’s Bowl For Kids’ Sake and will showcase members of the staff as they play their favorite video, board, and tabletop role-playing games.

This fundraising effort and celebration became necessary after COVID-19 forced cancelations of all traditional Bowl For Kids’ Sake events.

Highlights during Game for Kids’ Sake include new favorites such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, indie hits from the Racial Equality Bundle, and popular board games such as Apples to Apples.

Game For Kids’ Sake will be available via YouTube Live and Facebook Live. It will also stream at TennesseeBig.org/Games.

Visuals:

• BBBS-ETN staff hosting an online telethon with the backdrops of their favorite games.

• Addresses from supporters in the mentoring community.

• BBBS-ETN staff will be available for interview before and after the program.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee defends potential in children through strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Youth enrolled in the program achieve measurable outcomes, including improved educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater self-confidence, and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 50-year history in the Knoxville area.

During the COVID-19 crisis – and every day – BBBS-ETN is committed to keeping kids connected through a supportive mentor and dedicated case workers. The agency goes one step further, connecting both families and caregivers with critical services, serving those affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, isolation, and anxiety due to COVID-19. Learn more about ways you can join our cause at tennesseebig.org/get-involved.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters to celebrate first-generation college students at digital signing day event.

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (June 8, 2020) Twelve students to be awarded scholarships at June 11 ceremony.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee will host a digital Signing Day and Scholarship Celebration on Thursday, June 11, at 3:30pm.

The event will celebrate 31 graduates of the agency’s Mentor 2.0 program and more than 40 high school seniors across its other site- and community-based programs. Twelve students will receive scholarships to pursue post-secondary education and training.

This year’s celebration will feature remarks from University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd, President of First Horizon Bank’s East Region Dave Miller, and Voice of the Vols Bob Kesling.

Congratulatory messages will also be shared from Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs; Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and CEO Pam Iorio; University of Tennessee head basketball coach Kellie Harper; University of Tennessee head women’s tennis coach Alison Ojeda; and additional supporters.

The Mentor 2.0 Signing Day and BBBS-ETN Scholarship Celebration will be available via YouTube Live and Facebook Live. It will also stream at TennesseeBig.org/SigningDay.

Visuals:

• Students announcing post-secondary plans and colleges of choice via video message.

• Presentation of the first Austin French Memorial Scholarships by Austin’s Big Brother Bill Park.

• Addresses from numerous noteworthy supporters, including University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd.

• BBBS-ETN staff, as well as mentors, will be available for interview before and after the program.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee defends potential in children through strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Youth enrolled in the program achieve measurable outcomes, including improved educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater self-confidence, and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 50-year history in the Knoxville area.

During the COVID-19 crisis – and every day – BBBS-ETN is committed to keeping kids connected through a supportive mentor and dedicated case workers. The agency goes one step further, connecting both families and caregivers with critical services, serving those affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, isolation, and anxiety due to COVID-19. Learn more about ways you can join our cause at tennesseebig.org/get-involved.

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We can do better.

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (June 3, 2020) The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery join a long list of others and underscore centuries of violence, aggression, and injustice toward black people.

Their deaths have not only left me speechless, they’ve left me heartbroken.

I’ve tried to unpack how our team, as well as the communities we serve, must feel about ingrained systems of racism and oppression which have existed for hundreds of years.

I’ve also reflected and deliberated about how we as an agency should respond. I think it’s vital to state boldly and plainly what we believe:

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, we stand in solidarity with those fighting against systematic racism and the oppression of black people.

As CEO of this agency, I believe that our team – and, more broadly, mentorship – can be a force for good, a force that can bring about peaceful, systematic change.

But, it’s important that I, and we at Big Brothers Big Sisters, commit to more than platitudes. We can do better.

Moving forward, the BBBS-ETN team will deepen our discussions around race and racism, and we will look in-depth at how we treat race every day. We will provide more trainings and resources for staff, mentors, mentees, and families regarding racism and the oppression of people of color.

We will place emphasis on both creating and expanding initiatives that build bridges of understanding between communities, such as our Bigs in Blue programs. And, through continued dialogue, we will develop a plan regarding our role in addressing racism in our community.

Before I conclude this note, I’d like to provide you an example of how we can do better. Currently, fewer than 15% of our mentors identify as people of color. Does this mean people of color are less passionate about igniting potential in youth through mentorship? Absolutely not. It means I, as the leader of this agency, have work to do in regard to connecting with and hearing from these communities. Over the next few weeks, we’ll set tangible goals in this area.

That’s just one way we can do better to collaborate with people of color and to better support them. There are certainly many more opportunities to improve how this agency addresses race and racism, and I look forward to sharing those plans with you as they develop. We will do better.

Thank you for your support of BBBS-ETN. If you have thoughts, feedback, or recommendations, or if you would like to provide resources around preventing racism – please share them with me.

Brent

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BBBS-ETN to make first-ever online matches during COVID-19 pandemic.

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (April 29, 2020) Agency to match mentors with mentees online starting Wednesday, April 29.

In response to safer-at-home guidelines – and for the first time in its 50-year history – Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee will, this week, make its first-ever online Matches between mentors (Bigs) and mentees (Littles).

The programmatic change, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, will also signify the first time in Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s 115-year history that Match Meetings and Match activities are approved to take place fully online.

Match Meetings, which signify the first time a mentor meets his or her mentee, typically take place at a Little’s home or school.

BBBS-ETN’s first digital Match Meetings will occur between Big Sister Madison and Big Sister Carmen and Little Sisters Tashira and Kiara – who are also biological sisters – on Wednesday, April 29 and Friday, May 1.

Big Sister Madison, a program coordinator at a senior home care center, and her Little Sister Tashira say they look forward to participating in outdoor activities when they can meet in person. For now, they’ll focus on activities like virtual tours of parks and zoos, and they’ll take advantage of the resources and online activities BBBS-ETN has compiled for Bigs and Littles. Their Match Meeting will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, April 29, at 2pm.

Big Sister Carmen, a medical assistant in Blount County, and her Little Sister Kiara both enjoy being active and say they look forward to painting their nails together. After their Zoom Match meeting on Friday, May 1, at 3:15pm, the pair plans to hold nail-painting sessions via FaceTime.

The sisters’ mom, Ty — who also serves in the healthcare industry — currently works remotely while homeschooling Tashira and Kiara. She looks forward to the additional connections her daughters’ Big Sisters will bring during a time when they are out of school and isolated.

“Now, more than ever, it’s vital to keep kids connected—we couldn’t be more thrilled to innovate by making and supporting Matches digitally,” said BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh. “The mission of BBBS-ETN is more urgent, and our impact is more evident than ever before—we will continue to match youth with mentors and to connect their families with essential needs like food, rent assistance, and behavioral health resources.”

Both Matches will meet in person once COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted.

Visuals:

• BBBS-ETN’s first-ever digital Match meetings are occurring via Zoom.

o Madison and Tashira: Wednesday, April 29, 2pm

o Carmen and Kiara: Friday, May 1, 3:15pm

• The BBBS-ETN team is working to make interviews available with Big Sisters and with the Littles Sisters’ mom, all who work in the healthcare industry.

• Members of the BBBS-ETN team will be on hand for interviews.

• Photos of the online Match Meeting will be on BBBS-ETN’s social media channels and website, TennesseeBig.org.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee defends potential in children through strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Youth enrolled in the program achieve measurable outcomes, including improved educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater self-confidence, and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 50-year history in the Knoxville area.

During the COVID-19 crisis – and every day – BBBS-ETN is committed to keeping kids connected through a supportive mentor and dedicated case workers. The agency goes one step further, connecting both families and caregivers with critical services, serving those affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, isolation, and anxiety due to COVID-19. Learn more about ways you can join our cause at tennesseebig.org/get-involved.

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COVID-19 — Thank You and Update

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (April 7, 2020) This is a message of celebration.

A celebration of those of you who have donated or volunteered at a food bank since the COVID-19 crisis began. The Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee team has made hundreds of wellness calls in the past week – resulting in more than 300 referrals on behalf of the families we serve; (a 6,000% increase over an average week). The vast majority of the requests are related to food insecurity and other basic needs. When you’ve supported area food banks, you’ve directly helped our Littles and their siblings, parents, and grandparents. Thank you.

A celebration of first responders. If not for social distancing, I would hug each and every one of you. And a heartfelt thanks to our Bigs who work in healthcare and to our 30 Bigs in Blue who continue to serve the community while remaining committed to your Little. You are all heroes.

A celebration of small businesses. You’ve stood with us through event sponsorships, in-kind donations, and more. We know you’re hurting right now, and we’d love to help you. Please email our team if you’d like to be featured in our upcoming small business spotlight. Let us know how we can help, whether it’s picking up take-out, buying a gift card, or ordering online.

A celebration of our mentors who continue to keep kids connected. We love seeing your FaceTime screenshots, hearing about how you’re inspiring learning while Littles are out of school, and seeing pictures of the virtual activities you’re participating in with your mentees. Please make plans to attend some of our upcoming virtual events, and let us know how we can continue to support you.

A celebration of the families we serve. Your resilience inspires us. If we haven’t spoken to you yet, we’ll be calling soon. And if you need help in the meantime, please reach out to me directly or to your Match Support Specialist.

And a celebration of this community. Of the donors who have reached out to see how BBBS-ETN is doing with event cancelations, market downturns, and decreased funding. Of the foundations who have promised to bear with us while we adjust our operations to serve the community during this crisis. Of the volunteers who have asked how they can help. Of our board and executive committee who continue to go above and beyond. You are all phenomenal.

These next few months won’t be easy for any of us. But, know that Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee will be standing shoulder to shoulder with each of you:

• We will continue our remote operations – processing youth in need of a mentor, interviewing volunteers, conducting orientations via Zoom, and – for the first time ever – making Matches virtually. We’ll support current mentors who are vital to kids who are out of school, isolated, and more at-risk than ever.

• We’ll continue serving as a hub for hundreds of families – providing resources for those who have been significantly affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, and anxiety due to the uncertainties related to COVID-19.

• We’ll also continue supporting – and celebrating – each and every one of you throughout this time of turmoil.

And when this is all over, with your help, we will bounce back and our agency will be stronger than ever.

With immense gratitude,
—Brent

P.S. We know you’re receiving a number of emails right now, so we’ll do our best to only email you when it’s absolutely necessary. In the meantime, you can sign up to receive more regular updates from me through our new CEO blog. And for the latest on all BBBS-ETN’s events, orientations, and public meetings, visit TennesseeBig.org/COVID19.

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New Updates from BBBS-ETN

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.

With gratitude,
—Brent

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.

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COVID-19 Update from BBBS-ETN

COVID-19 UPDATE FROM BBBS-ETN

UPDATE (March 13, 2020) In response to increasing concerns related to COVID-19, effective today, BBBS-ETN strongly recommends that all Bigs and Littles avoid in-person match outings during the month of March (at minimum) and instead focus on building a friendship through email, phone, text, FaceTime, etc.

Our team has put together the list of activities below to share with your Little in lieu of in-person activities.

Practice Your Creative Writing by Sending Letters: Consider starting a story, mailing it to your Little, and asking your Little to fill in the next section and mail it back to you. Or, find fun postcards of places your Little might be interested in learning more about and mail them to him/her/them.
Chat via Skype/Facetime: A phone call can keep you up to date on how your Little is spending their time away from school.
Compete in Age-appropriate Digital Games: A friendly competition using Boggle, Words with Friends, or Quiz Up can be great fun! (And show you how much savvier your Little is than you!)
Start a Virtual Book Club: Order two copies of a book through Amazon Prime—or, my personal favorite, through a local bookstore that will mail one to your home and one copy to your Little’s home. Read the book with your Little, and talk about it over the phone. This will encourage them to keep reading should school be closed for an extended period of time.
Create a Match Activity List: Work on a list of new activities you and your Little would like to participate in together and then compare your answers over the phone.
Virtual Movie Night: Put on an age-appropriate movie at the same time and chat on the phone (or text) about the movie while watching.

As you know, Big Brothers Big Sisters has canceled group events and ticketed match events during the month of March. For an up-to-date listing of the status of all agency events, visit: TennesseeBig.org/COVID19.

We are working diligently to provide additional resources for you and for Littles’ families during this time. Below are a few—please do not hesitate to reach out to your Match Support Specialist if we can pull together more information.

Fun and educational websites offering free subscriptions while schools are out
Resources for Bigs who are concerned with their Little’s access to food if school is out (Note that you may also call 211)
Information on how to talk to your Little about the Coronavirus
A comic for kids explaining the Coronavirus

Thank you for all you do for your Little, and again, please don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions or concerns.

KNOXVILLE, TN (March 11, 2020) As you are undoubtedly aware, COVID-19 is an evolving global, national, and statewide issue. At BBBS-ETN, the health and safety of our Littles, Bigs, partners, and staff is our first priority. We are monitoring the situation daily and following guidance from area health departments and school districts, as well as federal guidance from the CDC.

As a general practice, BBBS-ETN recommends all Match parties exercise best judgement when considering spending time together. Reach out to your Match Support Specialist if you’d like to discuss your situation or, particularly for Community-Based Matches, to discuss creative ideas for continuing to build your Match relationship without seeing each other in-person for a short period.

At this time, in order to protect the safety of BBBS-ETN community, we ask you to refrain from Match activities with your Little if:
• You are ill for any reason – even if your symptoms are not the same as symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath).
• You have traveled in the last two weeks to anywhere designated by the CDC as having a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Notice (currently China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea).
• You have chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, a compromised immune system, chronic lung disease and/or cancer which could put you at a higher risk from COVID-19.

Additionally, if your Little or their family reports sickness, we encourage you to reschedule your time together.

For Community-Based Matches, we also advise you avoid large gatherings with your Little. For the month of March, and in abundance of caution, BBBS-ETN will suspend all group activities, and we will not be providing tickets to sporting events or other large events. We will continue to monitor April events and be in touch if those are canceled or postponed.

If you are at home, school, or another location with your Little, please follow CDC recommendations noted below and encourage your mentee to do the same:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue; then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Monitor your heath more closely than usual for cold or flu symptoms.
• We also recommend you consult your local health department for notices, recommendations, and warnings.

For more information, please visit the following websites:
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov
• World Health Organization: https://www.who.int

Thank you, as always, for being part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and please reach out to our team if you have any questions or concerns. If you would like to speak with me directly, please call 865.243.3879 or email me at BWaugh@TennesseeBig.org.

Thank you,
—Brent

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Tornado Relief for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee

TORNADO RELIEF FOR BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE

KNOXVILLE, TN (March 6, 2020) Six families served by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee lost their homes when a tornado ripped through the Nashville area on Tuesday, March 3.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is joining together with statewide BBBS affiliates to collect items for families. Donations from the list below can be made to the BBBS-ETN office at 318 N. Gay Street by Friday, March 13.

For questions, contact Lorien Pace at LPace@TennesseeBig.org.

•••Only unopened items can be accepted.•••

Items Needed
Bottled Water
Toilet Paper
Paper Towels
Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Soap
Shampoo
Conditioner
Body Wash
Razors
Deodorant
Lotion
Food Donations

Non-perishable Items
Canned Items
Snack Items
Peanut Butter
Sun-butter
Jelly
Canned Fruit
Non-perishable food items that do not need to be cooked
Cleaning Supplies
Gloves
Hand Sanitizer
Dish Soap
Laundry Detergent
Clorox Wipes
Flashlights
Batteries
Candles
Gallon Size Bags

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee Names Mentors of the Year

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE NAMES MENTORS OF THE YEAR
Big Sister Dianne Forry and Big Brother Tyler Ladd honored

KNOXVILLE, TN (January 31, 2020) In celebration of National Mentoring Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has named its Mentors of the Year.

Big Sister Dianne Forry and Big Brother Tyler Ladd were honored for their impact at a private event in December 2019.

Dianne and Jake
Big Sister Dianne and Little Brother Jake were matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee in September of 2015.

Jake and Dianne attend nearly all BBBS-ETN’s Match events – from craft club, to game night, to career night, to the annual Holiday Party – but their favorite thing to do together is attend plays. The pair catches a play nearly once a month at Knoxville Children’s Theatre.

Dianne says the duo also regularly volunteers in the community because Jake enjoys helping others. She regularly encourages Jake to focus on school.

Dianne’s impact is evident—Jake’s grades have improved, as have his relationships with his family and teachers.

“I think I have impacted Jake’s life by being consistent, dependable and accepting,” Dianne said. “I am not his parent, his counselor, his judge or jury, just his friend. He told someone recently that we were more like family to each other—I think that’s true.”.

Tyler and Josh
Big Brother Tyler and his Little Brother Josh first met more than four years ago. The pair loves being active together – including participating in activities like fishing, bike riding, and even tubing in Townsend.

Last year, Tyler and Josh spent time restoring a truck together. Tyler is close to Josh’s family, and even helped recently when they moved to a new home.

Josh’s mom says that Tyler provides a consistent support for her son, and Tyler agrees.

“I think Josh has been impacted by the consistency of having a mentor for more than four years,” Tyler said. “This friendship means so much to us, and we would both do anything for each other.”

“I think Josh sees that I want to bring joy and hope to life—I also think he has a compassionate heart, and that he wants to do the same for others one day,” Tyler said.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee defends potential in children through strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that change lives for the better, forever. Children enrolled in the 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 50-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

About National Mentoring Month
Launched in 2002 by The National Mentoring Partnership 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. Learn more at mentoring.org.

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