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BBBS Hall of Fame and Scholarship night

On May 4th 2017, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN (BBBSETN) will host the First Annual Hall of Fame and Scholarship Night. Together with guest, the agency will celebrate and recognize graduating Littles and one individual in the community who has supported the agency in a BIG way! Graduating Littles who are continuing their education will receive a Scholarship from the agency and one supporter will be inducted into the agency’s Hall of Fame.

Scholarship Fund
Graduating Littles who are continuing their education will receive a scholarship to aid in the cost of college. A scholarship fund has been established and donations are welcome. If you wish to make a monetary donation towards the Scholarship Fund, click here.

BBBSETN Hall of Fame
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.

The BBBSETN Hall of Fame Committee is seeking nominations for the 2017 BBBSETN Hall of Fame inaugural class. Individuals will be considered whom efforts have resulted in community-wide economic, social and/or cultural benefits that have had a positive impact on BBBSETN.

The Nominee must meet the following criteria:
1. The individual must have made a significant and extraordinary contribution to BBBSETN.
2. The individuals’ achievements and contributions must have had lasting value and importance and must have withstood the test of time.
3. Nominees may be an individual, or individuals and business partners, or families as a single nominee.

To nominate an individual for induction into the BBBSETN Hall of Fame, please complete the nomination form and submit a statement explaining the significant and worthy contributions this individual or organization has made to BBBSETN. Civic and/or philanthropic activities are relevant but not the primary factor in selection.
The statement should be no more than three pages, double-spaced. Please include pertinent information that supports consideration of this organization.

• Supporting letters or documents will be accepted.
• The three-page double spaced statement (as referenced above) and supporting letters and documents cannot exceed 10 pages.
• All materials supporting the nomination will become the property of BBBSETN and will
not be returned.

Nominees selected will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the spring of 2017.

Please complete and return the Hall of Fame Nomination Form and any accompanying documents, by March 15, 2017. Completed forms may be returned via: email to: nominations@TennesseeBig.org or by mail to:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN
Attention: Hall of Fame Selection Committee
The Regas Building
318 N. Gay Street, Ste 100
Knoxville, TN 37917

 

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KAMI Starts Mentoring Push

Jim Gaines , USA TODAY NETWORK  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To view article, click here

 

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Chilling Together: Big Brothers Big Sisters Pair Shares Close Bond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Penn laughs and shakes his head.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tennessee Today, November 28, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONTACT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published November 18, 2016

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

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

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

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

 

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

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UT Baseball Coach Hits a Home Run with Volunteer Spirit

By Marco Villarreal | 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s batting a 1000 with his service!

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

To view the WVLT Video Segment, click here

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Women’s Group Provides $11,200 In Support Of Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Knoxville, TN (August 16th, 2016) Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN (BBBS) is pleased to announce it has received a current total of $11,200 in donations from 100 Women Who Care Knoxville. After all donations are turned in, the total could rise as high as $15,000.

The group’s donations will provide much needed funding for the agency’s new Mentor 2.0 Program, a professionally supported, technology-enriched one-to-one mentoring program that engages high school students in the classroom and online in an entirely new way. Mentors and mentees use an interactive secure portal to follow a curriculum-based program administered by the BBBS’ staff. Partnering with South Doyle High School, BBBS will launch the Mentor 2.0 program at the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

100 Women Who Care Knoxville’s mission is to use the power of collective giving to make a difference in the community it serves. It meets quarterly to pick a local charity to support, with members each contributing $100 to the cause.

The funds from 100 Women Who Care Knoxville will go a long way in supporting the Mentor 2.0 Program, especially to underwrite the cost associated with the program’s secure online platform and curriculum.

“We are so grateful and excited that the members of 100 Women Who Care Knoxville share our passion in making a difference and want to support us in helping our students achieve their educational goals”, said Whitney Baker, BBBS’ Mentor 2.0 Director. “This mentoring program is the first of its kind in the state of Tennessee and our agency is excited to see its impact.”

100 Women Who Care Knoxville presenting Check to BBBS
100 Women Who Care Knoxville presented BBBS with $11,200 to support the agency’s new Mentor 2.0 Program. The check was accepted by BBBS Mentor 2.0 Director, Whitney Baker, Mentor 2.0 Big Brother, Eric Swanson and South Doyle Freshman Principal, Bill Baldwin.

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

 

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

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Big Brothers Big Sisters Launching Mentor 2.0 in Knoxville

Mary Scott and Abby Bower, WBIR  July 21, 2016

KNOXVILLE – The statistics show that mentoring can change a child’s life. Big Brothers Big Sisters uses one statistic to prove it: students who have a mentor are 90 percent more likely to enroll in college.

But they noticed their traditional matches started to drop off when students entered high school. That’s where Mentor 2.0 comes in.

In Knoxville, Big Brothers Big Sisters is launching the college readiness program at South Doyle High School in the coming school year with hopes of expanding to other high schools in the future.

The program will pair college-educated adults with high school students to guide them through their high school years.

“We’re focusing on making these students successful adults, focusing on the steps to get them there that’s not just academic preparation,” Whitney Baker, Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor 2.0 coordinator, said.

The extra preparation will include weekly email communication between mentors and students, a weekly class taught by Big Brothers and Big Sisters during the school day, and monthly group dinner activities.

Baker said the classes and assignments will focus on soft social skills such as how to advocate for yourself, how to persevere when things get hard, simple goal setting and critical thinking.

Akilo Griggs will be a freshman at South Doyle High in the fall. He’s been paired with mentor Eric Swanson through Big Brothers Big Sisters for 3 years.

They are transitioning into the Mentor 2.0 program.

“It just so happens Akilo fits the grade of the high school Big Brothers has chosen. So they talked to me about the program,” Swanson said.

After some research, Swanson decided the program would make his life as a mentor easier.

“I’m pretty good at being a friend, pretty good at just trying to be an influence in his life, but I’m not sure I’m very good or qualified at having the tough conversations,“ Swanson, 30, explained. “I’m really excited about this program. I think it’s going to force us to have those conversations.”

Griggs said Swanson has already had a major impact on his life.

“He’s always teaching me good things. I’m used to people teaching me bad things to be honest. He’s like a good influence,” Griggs said.

Bill Baldwin, the freshman principal at South Doyle High School, noticed in his four years at the school that many of the students came in with a lack of confidence that needed one-on-one attention. The school has 1,200 students.

“We have such a diverse population here that trying to meet all the needs with one cookie cutter mold or saying let’s just go have school, it just wasn’t cutting it for our kids,” Baldwin said. “This program fills those holes I believe.”

Baker said they are in “desperate” need of mentors. They have 75 students signed up for the program but only 15 mentors signed up.

“I’m really excited about this program I think it’s going to force us to have those conversations. It’s going to make it easier for us,” Swanson said.

Click here to watch the video segment!

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Knoxville Big Brothers Big Sisters Needs Volunteers for Mentor 2.0 Program

By: WATE 6 On Your Side staff

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is in desperate need of more mentors for a new program they are getting to launch at South Doyle High School.

Organizers said the Mentor 2.0 program is different from a traditional mentoring program. It is designed to use the mentoring relationship to ensure more students from low-income communities enroll and succeed in college.

Each student participating in the Mentor 2.0 program will be paired with their own college graduate from the community as their mentor. This provides our students with the level of personalized support necessary to ensure college-readiness.

South Doyle High School will be the first school to participate in the new program. Mentors need to be at least 23 years or older, with at least a two-year degree. Mentors commit four years to a single mentee and have the option to extend the match through the completion of college.

Mentors must apply online. For more information contact Whitney Baker, the Mentor 2.0 Program Director at (865) 243-8846 orwbaker@tennesseebig.org.

Big Heights Rooftop Crawl supports Mentor 2.0 program

The Big Heights Rooftop Crawl will take place Thursday, August 18 in Downtown Market Square.

The decade-themed event will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee’s Mentor 2.0 Program. During the event, participants will crawl the rooftops of Market Square and enjoy food, drinks, music, and decade-themed fun as they travel from the 70s to the 90s.

The participating rooftops include: Scruffy City Hall, Oodles Uncorked, and Cafe 4. The rooftop crawl is from 7-10:00 p.m.

Tickets are $45, must be purchased prior to the event, and include: food, drink tickets (one per rooftop party), decade-themed entertainment, and access for one to each of our three rooftops.

To purchase tickets go to Big Brothers Big Sister’s website. All participants must be 21 years of age and older.

Click here to view the video segment

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