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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 Laurie Stone and Big Brother Mike Lewis honored

KNOXVILLE, TN – (February 12, 2019) — In celebration of National Mentoring Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has named its Mentors of the Year.

Big Brother Mike Lewis and Big Sister Laurie Stone were honored for their impact at a private event in December.

Laurie and Maria
Laurie Stone and Maria were matched in October of 2012. The two consider each other family, and regularly go out to eat and to movies together.

Laurie supports Maria’s extracurricular activities, and regularly provides Maria a ride from volleyball and cheer practice.

The impact of a mentor in Maria’s life is evident: Maria’s grades have improved and she recently received several awards at school. She is more confident in herself, and she is even planning her future after high school.

“Maria is an amazing young lady,” said Stone. “The last three years of her life have been a huge area of academic growth and relationship successes, and she has become involved in track, volleyball, lacrosse, and as cheer team captain on her school squad. She is the leader I knew she’d be, and she is making good choices.”

Mike and Aaron
Mike Lewis and his Little Brother Aaron met in January 2015. The pair enjoys spending time at sporting events and going out to eat.

When Aaron moved to a new home last year, Mike helped his family move in and even performed repairs.

The two place a strong emphasis on school performance, decision-making, respect for others, honesty, accountability, and potential—and the results are evident.

“It has been my pleasure to be able to spend time with Aaron,” Mike said. “He is a big-hearted young man with great potential. My hope is that he continues to see new possibilities unfold before him to experience the brightest of futures.  My life is richer thanks to knowing Aaron.”

“Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee mentors are truly igniting potential in hundreds of area youth,” said BBBS-ETN VP of Programs Kara Finger. “Laurie and Mike are phenomenal mentors who provide a life-changing impact on their Littles, ensuring that Aaron and Maria achieve their biggest possible futures.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee names its Bigs of the Year at a private event each December and announces honorees each January in honor of National Mentoring Month.

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 47-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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BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE MATCH LAUNCHES “POSITIVELY KNOX” T-SHIRT BRAND

Additional Media Coverage
–WBIR-TV: Live A Little: Meet Jamal and Ryan
–WATE-TV: 6-Year Friendship That Started at Big Brothers Big Sisters Could be One For Life
–WVLT-TV: Brothers by Heart Share a Common Goal
–KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL: Senior Kickstarts “Positively Knox” to Spread Upbeat Message

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE MATCH LAUNCHES
“POSITIVELY KNOX” T-SHIRT BRAND
All proceeds benefit Little Brother Jamal’s college fund

KNOXVILLE, TN − (January 22, 2019) — Ryan Willis and his Little Brother Jamal, who were matched in 2012 through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, have launched the Positively Knox brand.

The goal of Positively Knox is to spread positivity through t-shirts and apparel. All proceeds will benefit Jamal’s college fund.

Willis, who owns local apparel company Mulekick Brand, and Jamal say their friendship is centered around encouragement and regular reminders to focus on the good in people.

“One day I listened to a talk about ‘PMA,’ or Positive Mental Attitude, and started using the idea in everyday life,” Jamal said. “Ryan and I focus on it too, and we always try to stay positive and happy.”

The pair, who met seven years ago, have worked together on every step of the process.

“The main goal was to give Jamal some practical business experience—from design, to determining how much to sell the product for, to packing and fulfilling the orders,” said Willis. “And it’s turned into a senior project of sorts that will have the added benefit of helping Jamal financially as he enters college.”

Jamal and Ryan have discussed Jamal’s college path since first being matched.

This fall, the Central High School senior will make his college dreams a reality.

“I know I’m going to college, no matter what,” said Jamal, who will enroll in Pellissippi in the fall of 2019. “And, I’m happy to have Ryan beside me every step of the way. He’s not only my Big Brother—he’s my best friend.”

“We’re family now and will always have a connection,” says Willis. “I’m thrilled to work with Jamal on this project, and I can’t wait to see him move into the next phase of his life.”

Positively Knox shirts are available at PositivelyKnox.com—currently, 125 shirts have been sold.

Project partners include Threds and T2 Design.

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 47-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

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adminBIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE MATCH LAUNCHES “POSITIVELY KNOX” T-SHIRT BRAND
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BBBS AND KPD LAUNCH GO BIG! KNOXVILLE INITIATIVE

MAYOR MADELINE ROGERO AND POLICE CHIEF EVE THOMAS TO LAUNCH
GO BIG! KNOXVILLE INITIATIVE AT MEDIA EVENT TODAY

Go Big! Knox is a new partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, TN — (January 28, 2019) — Mayor Madeline Rogero, Police Chief Eve Thomas, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee CEO Brent Waugh will announce on Monday the launch of Go Big! Knoxville.

The new initiative aims to defend the potential of at-risk youth by building bridges between marginalized communities and the police who serve them. The program has a goal of recruiting 50 community mentors by July 2019.

The press conference will include an address from BBBS-ETN mentor B.K. Hardin, a police officer who was injured in a brutal, random attack while directing University of Tennessee game day traffic last fall. Hardin will discuss how mentoring helps take the stigma off the uniform.

WHAT: Press conference to announce Go Big! Knoxville launch

WHEN: 4:30-6:30 p.m.

  • 4:30-5:30: Pre-event reception with opportunity to interview key stakeholders
  • 5:30-6:30: Press conference featuring Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, KPD Chief of Police Eve Thomas, and additional special guests

WHERE: The Regas Building, 318 N. Gay Street

WHO: Representatives from the City of Knoxville, the Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Schools, the Knox County Juvenile Court, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, Save Our Sons, and additional community partners

VISUALS: Bigs and Littles who are part of the new program; Mayor Rogero launching the initiative; Chief of Police Eve Thomas; Knox County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin; “Ribbon-cutting” at 6:30 p.m.

ON-SITE CONTACT: Brent Waugh, 865.804.1288

  • Additional interviews available by request to Elizabeth Malone at EMalone@KnoxvilleTN.gov.

More information available at TennesseeBig.org/GoBigKnox.

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 47-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

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ALCOA FOUNDATION AWARDS GRANT TO BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE

ALCOA FOUNDATION AWARDS GRANT TO BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE
Funds will support site-based mentoring programs in area public schools

KNOXVILLE, TN (December 20, 2018) – Alcoa Foundation has awarded Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee a grant in support of its site-based mentoring services.

BBBS-ETN currently partners with nearly 40 public schools throughout East Tennessee, including Knox and Blount counties. The partnership with Alcoa Foundation will allow BBBS-ETN to collaborate with additional middle schools and to support a number of enhancements for existing site-based mentoring pairs.

“We are honored to receive this grant from Alcoa Foundation,” said BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh. “Not only will the award help our agency serve more children, it will allow us to increase the length of current site-based matches, resulting in stronger outcomes for the youth we serve.”

BBBS-ETN aims to reach 5% more children in its site-based program through its partnership with Alcoa Foundation. The organization also plans to increase its site-based mentoring match length by 25% to 25 months.

Alcoa Foundation’s support will defend the potential of nearly 400 of the most diverse, at-risk children in the area, including:

  • More than 80% non-traditional families
  • 44% racial or ethnic minorities
  • 25% of the youth will be children of incarcerated parents
  • 10% in families affected by substance abuse and opioids
  • 51% first-generation college students

“Alcoa Foundation is committed to partnering with communities to address local needs in a sustainable manner,” said Jeffrey Jost. “Alongside Big Brothers Big Sisters and numerous other nonprofit partners, we support environmental excellence, economic success and social responsibility around the globe and right here in East Tennessee.”

The attached photos was taken at a check presentation on Dec. 18.

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 47-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation’s predecessor, currently known as Legacy Alcoa Foundation (and formerly known as Alcoa Foundation), was founded in 1952 as one of the few endowed corporate foundations in the United States. As a result of the separation of Alcoa Inc. into Alcoa Corporation and Arconic Inc. in November 2016, two new foundations were formed, into which the assets of Legacy Alcoa Foundation were transferred. One of the newly formed foundations, known now as Alcoa Foundation, is the foundation associated with Alcoa Corporation. Today, Alcoa Foundation invests where Alcoa Corporation has a presence, providing grants that contribute to environmental excellence around the world, particularly in the areas of biodiversity conservation and climate change research. Learn more at alcoafoundation.com and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.

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adminALCOA FOUNDATION AWARDS GRANT TO BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE
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BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS RECEIVES $10,000 FROM THE UPS FOUNDATION

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS RECEIVES $10,000 FROM THE UPS FOUNDATION

Funds will support Mentor 2.0 program at South Doyle High School

KNOXVILLE, TN − (December 4, 2018) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has received a $10,000 grant from The UPS Foundation in support of its Mentor 2.0 program at South Doyle High School.

The technology-enriched program focuses on college readiness and success for high school students, many of whom will be first-generation college students. Mentors and mentees participate in weekly activities, discussing important topics such as professionalism, perseverance, self-advocacy, college financial aid, and career choices.

“We are grateful for the UPS Foundation’s vital support of the Mentor 2.0 program,” said BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh. “This investment will provide East Tennessee youth with a life-changing friendship that maximizes their success after high school. Together with the UPS foundation, we’ll clear a path to the biggest possible futures for hundreds of Knox County students.”

Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, Ga., The UPS Foundation—which drives global corporate citizenship and philanthropic programs for UPS (NYSE:UPS)—identifies specific areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. In support of this strategic approach, The UPS Foundation has identified the following focus areas for giving: volunteerism, diversity, community safety, and the environment.

“The UPS Foundation is honored to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee’s efforts to provide mentors to youth in the Mentor 2.0 program,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPS. “Our goal is to fund powerful programs that make a lasting difference to the global community.”

In 2017, UPS and its employees, active and retired, invested more than $118 million in charitable giving around the world. The UPS Foundation can be found on the web at UPS.com/foundation. To get UPS news direct, visit pressroom.ups.com/RSS.

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 47-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters to host holiday party for children in need this Saturday

KNOXVILLE, TN (Nov. 28, 2018) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee will host a Holiday party for mentors (Bigs) and their mentees (Littles) on Saturday, Dec. 1.

The sixth annual BBBS-ETN Match Holiday Party, sponsored by Altar’d State, takes place from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Summit Ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Knoxville. The event is attended by nearly 300 mentors, youth and family members.

This year’s party will be Polar Express-themed—matches are encouraged to wear pajamas, and breakfast will be served.

What: The sixth annual BBBS-ETN Match Holiday Party, in partnership with UT’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity

When: Saturday, Dec. 1, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Where: Crowne Plaza Knoxville, 401 W. Summit Hill — Summit Ballroom

Visuals:

  • Littles meeting Santa Claus and opening presents
  • Mentors and youth decorating cookies, creating ornaments, and participating in other arts and crafts activities
  • Announcement of BBBS-ETN Bigs of the Year

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN)

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 47-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

About Altar’d State
Altar’d State is a rapidly growing women’s fashion brand with more than 100 boutiques throughout 30 states. Altar’d State’s popularity is growing not only for its inspiring boutique-style shopping experience and on-trend women’s fashion and accessories, but also for its emphasis on giving back to local and global organizations. Through its Give Back and Mission Monday initiatives, Altar’d State donates a portion of all net proceeds to global and local non-profit organizations.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters to launch “Reading to Learn” Initiative on Nov. 27

 

Program will support elementary students throughout East Tennessee, including in Bristol, Johnson City, and Kingsport

KNOXVILLE, TN (Nov. 26, 2018) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN) will launch on Tuesday a new program aimed at improving literacy rates through mentorship.

The Reading to Learn initiative establishes a firm foundation for students at Title 1 schools in the Tri-Cities area. In partnership with Reading Buddies and the United Way of Bristol, R2L matches mentors with third, fourth, and fifth-grade students.

Bigs receive literacy-focused coaching, and BBBS-ETN will provide books for mentors to review with Littles during weekly, one-on-one meetings.

The Reading to Learn program is made possible through a gift by Don and Ginia Shawl.

“Ginia and I are thrilled to support the Big Brothers Big Sisters Reading to Learn program,” said Don Shawl. “We feel strongly that early education is a most important foundation for later learning. We’re excited to see the partnership between Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way of Bristol, and Reading Buddies grow.”

BBBS-ETN aims to reach 25 students in the first year of the program.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is committed to serving more children in the Tri-Cities,” said BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh. “In fact, we’ve set an aggressive goal of 20% growth over the next three years—the Reading to Learn program will serve as a key driver of this goal.”

The Reading to Learn initiative will officially launch during an event at Anderson School on Nov. 27.

Guests will include Bristol Mayor Margaret Feierabend; Bristol Tennessee City Schools Director of Schools Dr. Gary Lilly; United Way Bristol Executive Director Lisa Cofer; Reading Buddies Volunteer Coordinator Kay Ward; Anderson Elementary Principal Dr. Ginger Christian; and Don and Ginia Shawl.

What: Reading to Learn Launch

When: Tuesday, Nov. 27, 1:30-2 p.m.

Where: Anderson School (901 9th Street, Bristol)

Visuals:

  • Reading to Learn mentors and mentees
  • Bristol, TN officials, including Mayor Margaret Feierabend
  • Bristol Tennessee City Schools leadership
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee leadership and staff
  • Note: Photos will be available after the launch

Big Brothers Big Sisters will provide Reading to Learn in partnership with community partners including Anderson and Fairmount schools in Bristol, Jonesborough Elementary in Washington County, Mountain View Elementary in Johnson City, and Kennedy and Lincoln elementary schools in Kingsport. Additional partners including Girls Inc., Boys and Girls Club, and Tech Gyrls.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN)

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 47-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

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BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE AND THE VOL NETWORK ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE AND THE VOL NETWORK ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP
Mentors and mentees to sell souvenir programs at University of Tennessee home football games

KNOXVILLE, TN (October 18, 2018) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee and the Vol Network today announced that mentors (Bigs) and mentees (Littles) will sell souvenir programs at remaining University of Tennessee home football games. A portion of the proceeds from sales will benefit BBBS-ETN.

The partnership begins this Saturday, Oct. 20, before the University of Tennessee’s game vs. the University of Alabama. Program sales will continue for all remaining home games, including Nov. 3 (UT vs. Charlotte), Nov. 10 (vs. Kentucky) and Nov. 17 (vs. Missouri).

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the exclusive producer and marketer of University of Tennessee sports programming,” said BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh. “Not only will this partnership with the Vol Network be an opportunity for our mentors and mentees to volunteer and give back to the community—it’s the perfect chance to tell Volunteers fans across the state about the urgent need for mentors.”

“The Vol Network is proud to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee on this exciting new venture,” said Vol Network General Manager Steve Early. “We are looking forward to working with Brent Waugh and his team to further increase the visibility of our souvenir program on game days, while also highlighting the outstanding service that BBBS-ETN provides in defending potential in our youth.”

What:                    Bigs and Littles selling programs, pre-game

When:                   Saturday, Oct. 20—three and a half hours prior to kickoff; continuing before all remaining home games

Where:                 Initial meeting at Gate 10 at Neyland Stadium; program sales continue around Neyland

Visuals:                Mentors and mentees selling programs together; Matches enjoying Vol Village and attending the football game—the first game for many of the children

On-site contact will be Brent Waugh, BBBS-ETN CEO—865.804.1288.

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 47-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

About the Vol Network
For more than 60 years, the Vol Network has served as the main communications link between the University of Tennessee and its fans. As the broadcast rights holder to University of Tennessee athletics, IMG College/Vol Network manages UT radio and television programming, game day publications, on-line services, venue signage and various other marketing and promotional activities related to Big Orange athletics.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee Unveils New Brand Positioning Aimed at Volunteer Recruitment

Contact Information:
Emma Everett, Marketing Coordinator
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
(865) 523-2179 ext. 322 │ marketing@tennesseebig.org

 For Immediate Release

 Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee Unveils New Brand Positioning Aimed at Volunteer Recruitment
East Tennessee mentoring organization’s new brand look emphasizes the potential inherent in all children

Knoxville, TN (Oct. 1, 2018) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, along with nearly 300 Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates across the country, unveiled a new, modern look and brand repositioning today. The goal of recruiting more diverse volunteers inspired the new branding.

“The need in East Tennessee for young people to have a role model is more urgent than ever,” said David Bratcher, Big Brothers Big Sisters East Tennessee board president.  “To attract more volunteers of all generations, we needed a modernization of our brand to make an impact in the community and meet the need of the essential work of matching youth with mentors.”

Months of research, including focus groups with potential Bigs, as well as current Bigs, Littles, donors, staff, and leadership showed that the brand was not effectively connecting with younger, prospective mentors or conveying the urgent mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters. The organization is intentionally pivoting from messages of the importance of mentoring, to messages of the urgent need for the adults in the community to step up to defend the potential of every child. The mission will remain the same, as will the core model of building bridges in communities by connecting one adult with one child and supporting that match at every stage, but the organization will focus on a child’s potential, and our role as adults in helping children achieve their best possible futures.

“In our community, we know that youth are facing numerous challenges. Our organization’s new brand is designed to help us ensure we can serve more children in East Tennessee by recruiting more volunteers,” said Brent Waugh, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.

The brand repositioning and new look are just the beginning. In the coming year, Big Brothers Big of East Tennessee will:

  • Transition to a new, modern, nationwide technology system.
  • Participate in new training and use the new positioning to refocus efforts on recruiting local volunteers.
  • Celebrate receiving the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Pinnacle Award, placing the agency in the top 9 of nearly 300 affiliates nationwide.
  • Launch a third year of its Mentor 2.0 program, a technology-enriched mentoring opportunity in partnership with South Doyle High School.
  • Unveil Reading to Learn, a literacy-based mentoring program in partnership with Reading Buddies in the Tri-Cities. This initiative will allow BBBS-ETN to serve 20% more children in Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City.

Learn more about the new brand positioning, the logo or messaging, or how to get involved at  tennesseebig.org/DefendersOfPotential .

Share the new look and follow updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #BBBSETN and #TennesseeBig.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee ignites 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 47-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

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BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE WELCOMES THREE MEMBERS INTO HALL OF FAME

Heidi Brenner, Bill Tapp, and Gordon Thomas honored for five decades of impact on the agency

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN) has inducted three new members into its 2018 Hall of Fame class: Heidi Brenner, Bill Tapp, and Gordon Thomas.

The BBBS-ETN Hall of Fame recognizes individuals and companies who have been instrumental in the growth, impact and sustainability of BBBS-ETN. Brenner, Tapp, and Thomas were honored at an induction ceremony in May for their contributions to the organization over the last five decades.

Brenner served as the first female board president. As a champion for underserved girls in the community, her work alongside Akima Club of Knoxville made it possible for the BBBS-ETN agency to expand from “Big Brothers” to become “Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

Tapp, the first full-time executive director of BBBS-ETN from 1972-1979, laid a foundation for future success by building relationships in the community and securing support for BBBS-ETN. Tapp has remained connected to the agency for the five decades as a board member, advocate, and community supporter.

Thomas served on the first BBBS-ETN board of directors and hired the agency’s first full-time executive director. He was also the organization’s second Big Brother to his Little Brother Eddie, a match which lasted from 1970-1979, and a friendship which has spanned a lifetime.
BBBS-ETN also celebrated and recognized graduating mentees at the Hall of Fame event. Three “Littles” received a scholarship, including Cary Holloway, Yasmin Horton and Grayson McGinnis.
Cary was matched with his Big Brother for two years. Cary recently graduated from Central High School and plans to attend Pellissippi State for two years for video production and business, and then attend a four-year school.

Yasmin has been matched with her Big Sister, Liz, for eight years. Yasmin graduated from Dr. Paul L. Kelley Volunteer Academy in August of 2017. She plans to attend Pellissippi State Community College and major in Criminal Justice.

Grayson McGinnis graduated from L&N STEM Academy in May 2017 and was a recipient of the inaugural BBBS-ETN Scholarship in 2017. He has attended MTSU for the past year, majoring in athletic training. Grayson was matched with his Big Brother, Tyler, for nearly four years.

Photos will be sent upon request.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, named a 2017 Pinnacle Agency by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, provides children facing adversity with 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 47-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

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