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Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee honored with national Quality Award from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Board member Richard Riley also recognized as most outstanding local board member

Knoxville, TN (July 19, 2021) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) honored Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN) with a national Quality Award at its national conference in June.

Each year, the BBBSA Nationwide Leadership Council—made up of local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency leaders and board members—recognizes a handful of agencies for excellence in program outcomes. In the face of numerous challenges in the past year—including the pandemic, social unrest, and economic uncertainty—17 mid-sized Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies received Quality Awards.

“I am extremely grateful for this recognition from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America,” said BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh. “These honors are a testament to our Bigs, Littles, and families—as well as our staff, board, and supporters. Together, our work leads to a brighter future for area youth.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters programs rely on in-person connections, but social distancing due to the pandemic prompted agencies to find innovative ways for volunteer mentors (‘Bigs’) to stay connected with their mentees (called ‘Littles’), including virtual events, porch hangouts, and other socially distanced activities.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee served 738 youth with Bigs last year. Staff provided support and coaching using a virtual model; they also found ways to connect Bigs, Littles and their families with additional resources through regular family needs assessment phone calls.

“Over the past several months, I’ve heard from agency leaders in rural towns and metropolitan communities, those in the suburbs and every place in between,” said Artis Stevens, President & CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “And there’s one theme I’ve noticed everywhere, and that’s the power of resilience. We congratulate these agencies for earning these top honors. The level of commitment and dedication is outstanding, to see staff doing all they can to make sure our youth will not only survive these challenging times but thrive.”

In addition to receiving a Quality Award, BBBS-ETN Board Member Richard Riley received the Clifford P. Norman Award—given to the most outstanding local board member in the nation.

The award honors a local board leader who exemplifies the qualities of commitment and generosity that were characteristic of Cliff Norman’s life, according to a news release. Norman was a member of both Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit and of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for more than 25 years, and known for his goodwill in local and national efforts.

Riley, a Big Brother and BBBS-ETN board member for six years, was recognized for his longtime work with the agency and his recent efforts to create and launch BBBS-ETN’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee.

Award recipients were formally recognized at the 2021 Virtual ‘Bigger Together’ National Conference in June.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s 2019 national Agency of the Year, defends potential in children through strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Children 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 organizations’ 51-year history.

BBBS-ETN is committed to keeping kids connected through a supportive mentor and dedicated case workers. The agency goes one step further, linking both families and caregivers with critical services, serving those affected by food insecurity, loss of income, lack of healthcare, isolation, and anxiety.

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 more than 230 local agencies serving more than 5,000 communities across all 50 states. For more information, visit: www.bigbrothersbigsisters.org. 

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