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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The perfect pair

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

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

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

A digital connection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah says that he has really enjoyed the program.

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

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

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

Creating meaningful relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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BOWL FOR KIDS’ SAKE 2018 SURPASSES FUNDRAISING GOALS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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MENTOR 2.0 MATCH, BIG SISTER LAURA AND LITTLE SISTER KATIE

Meet Little Sister Katie and Big Sister Laura. They have been matched since October of 2017. Katie is a freshman in High School. Katie is a straight A student and hopes Laura, an accountant, can help her keep her 4.0 and work towards her goal of being a large animal vet! Katie and Laura share a love of sports, family and animals and bonded over their love of puppies. Katie loves that Laura is like an older version of herself and is excited for a lifelong friendship with Laura.

On a recent assignment, Katie shared that Laura is one of the best things in her life right now and stated, “I know my mentor will always be there for me when I need someone other than family and friends because sometimes you just need someone different to talk to.”

Find out more about becoming a Mentor 2.0 volunteer this fall at TennesseeBig.org. #TennesseeBig #BeABig

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Mentor 2.0 Match, Big Brother Brandon and Little Brother Dakota

Big Brother Brandon and Little Brother Dakota have been matched since the fall of 2016 in the Mentor 2.0 program. Brandon and Dakota spent their first year getting to know one another and talked mostly about football. Brandon works for IMG Vol Network and promotes the Volunteers through sales and advertising. Since the Volunteers are Dakotas favorite sports team, he and Brandon hit it off immediately.

Brandon joined the program because he recognized how challenging high school can be and he wanted to help guide a student in the right direction. Dakota joined the program because he wanted someone to help him stay out of trouble and to improve his grades.

At the beginning of Dakota’s freshman year, he had more disciplinary referrals than any other freshman. He lacked motivation and focus, but Brandon provided him constant encouragement and support. At one point in the school year, Dakota’s family moved to a different area and he was no longer zoned to attend his school. When Dakota learned that he was moving and would no longer be involved in the Mentor 2.0 program, he called his mom to tell her that he couldn’t leave his school. As a result, Dakota’s mom set goals for him to achieve and agreed that as long as he kept his grades up she would make the effort to drive him to and from school so he could stay in the Mentor 2.0 program. Dakota has kept up his end of the deal and has not only kept his grades up but he has also avoided ISS and OSS entirely this year. He is currently the most improved student in the Mentor 2.0 program. We are proud of the strides that Dakota has made in school and with his mentor Brandon!

Find out more about becoming a Mentor 2.0 volunteer this fall at TennesseeBig.org. #TennesseeBig #BeABig

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

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee provides at-risk children with strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that change lives for the better, forever. BBBS-ETN is in its 47th year of serving area youth through mentorship matches. More information available at tennesseebig.org.

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

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Mentor 2.0 Match, Big Sister Meghan and Little Sister Monica

Big Sister Meghan and Little Sister Monica have been matched in the Mentor 2.0 program since September 2017. Meghan and Monica had an instant connection and have been good friends from the beginning. Meghan is helping Monica develop her ideas for her future. Monica would like to open her own salon one day and is interested in going to college for business. Meghan has a background in business and is able to give Monica encouragement and a realistic picture of what to expect. Monica wrote to Meghan last week in her “In 10 years…” poem that she hopes in 10 years from now she will be able to be a mentor at BBBS-ETN like Meghan. This is how Meghan responded to Monica:

“I also am so thrilled to see that you would like to be a BBBS-ETN mentor in the next 10 years. You would make a wonderful Big since you are encouraging to others and very empathetic. I hope that our experience together continues to reinforce your desire to be a mentor yourself! It has been an extremely rewarding and beneficial experience for me personally to have you in my life! Additionally, I think spending time volunteering in 10 years or less is a wonderful goal. Always make time to lend a hand to others. I encourage you to definitely volunteer at a shelter like you mentioned and maybe even bring some of your new friends that you make by then with you!”

These two have a special relationship and we can’t wait to watch it grow over the next couple of years!

Find out more about becoming a Mentor 2.0 volunteer this fall at TennesseeBig.org. #TennesseeBig #BeABig

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