Bigs Only

2Gen Media Release Announcement

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (January 25, 2021) TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES ANNOUNCES $1 MILLION IN GRANTS TO AREA BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS AFFILIATES

Grant dollars will serve the needs of parents and their children across East Tennessee.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) has awarded a $1 million grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga through its nationally recognized Two Generation (2Gen) approach.

These funds – $500,000 to BBBS-ETN and $500,000 to BBBS of Greater Chattanooga – will support innovative programs that move children and their parents and guardians toward educational success and economic security. TDHS funds also support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee agency, which serves Nashville and surrounding counties.

Each grant is funded through federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program dollars and approved through a collaboration with the Tennessee General Assembly TANF Work Group.

Grant dollars will support hundreds of families throughout East Tennessee, including both urban and rural areas. In addition to those youth and families served through one-to-one mentoring relationships, BBBS agencies will provide educational programs for youth and parents and guardians while they wait to be matched with a mentor.

“The pandemic has only increased the isolation of the children and families we serve, nearly half of which report feelings of isolation and depression,” said BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh. “2Gen funding will allow BBBS agencies across East Tennessee to provide child and parent engagement events – virtual at first and eventually in-person – ensuring youth and families have access to economic and social supports. The engagement activities are more important now than ever before.”

“Our agency has long focused on delivering on outcomes for the youth we serve through a one-to-one mentor,” said BBBS Greater Chattanooga CEO Jessica Whatley. “This grant allows our team to expand our parental efforts to include trainings on parenting, family literacy, and more – allowing us to offer training and individualized services and to better engage, listen, and incorporate the voices of families. Once we are able to engage with our parents and guardians in-person, we look forward to the support network they will form through these trainings.”

TDHS launched the 2Gen grant program in 2014 as part of its Two-Generation approach to addressing the needs of parents and children at the same time. The department has since awarded 2Gen grants to fund programs with more than 60 organizations and educational entities like Agape, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters 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’ decades-long history in Tennessee.

During the COVID-19 crisis – and every day – BBBS 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 due to COVID-19.

admin2Gen Media Release Announcement
read more

2020 Holiday Party

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (November 20, 2020) Our annual Holiday Party is on! Please read the full details below as many details have changed and please note that RSVPs are required. Inquire with your Match Support Specialist for RSVP link.

Before we go into the fun stuff (presents, food, crafts, etc.), I do want to let you know that this year will look quite a bit different than our normal PJs and breakfast at the Crowne Plaza. In order to be safe and socially distanced, we are making a number of adjustments, outlined below.

Safety Precautions
This year’s safety precautions will include:
• The Holiday Party will take place outdoors.
• We’re still working on details regarding food, crafts, etc., but we can confirm that the party will be contactless with stations for picking up items. (Unlike previous years, we won’t have crafting tables, but Littles will be able to take home food/crafts.)
• Matches will be required to wear masks for the entirety of the event.
• All volunteers will be in masks and gloves.
• To ensure proper social distancing, attendance will be extremely limited.
• Finally, matches must sign up for a 30-minute time slot. (More details on that below!)

Event Overview
Now, on to the fun stuff. Our 2020 Holiday Celebration will take place on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 1-4 p.m. The venue has a great outdoor space where we can socially distance, utilize an open-air covered space in the event of inclement weather, and still celebrate the holidays BBBS-ETN style!

We’re planning to provide an individually wrapped snack and a craft, take photos of matches, and offer fun and festive events from the City of Knoxville that you and your Little can take part in safely.

How to Register
In order to limit crowds and to keep the event as safe as possible, Matches must register for a 30-minute timeslot. Please ask your Match Support Specialist for the RSVP link. We encourage you to sign up as soon as possible, as we are very limited in the amount of Bigs and Littles who we can accommodate.

Please note: In the past, we’ve allowed for Bigs to bring family members. This year, we prefer you only bring your Little in order to reduce the number of people in attendance. That said, if you would like to inquire about additional guests, please email or call me directly.

Gifts for Littles
Gifts will also look a bit different in 2020. In order to maintain the flow of the event and to ensure it remains contactless, we are planning to distribute gift cards to downtown businesses. (We hope to return to the great gift unwrapping next year!) On the bright side, if you feel comfortable doing so, this will allow you and your Little to extend the holiday fun and shop together after you leave the party.

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of Knox Pride, we’re planning for each Match to receive a gift card to one of the following local businesses: Mast General Store, Union Ave Books (appointment required to shop), or Bliss.

What to Bring
Since the event is outside, we encourage you and your Little to wear warm jackets and bundle up. Remember, you must be in a mask at all times, and you might want to bring an extra mask for your Little, just in case.

Plans are still in the works, but we hope to have individually packed snacks for you to enjoy on the lawn or after leaving the party. Speaking of this space, the lawn area is very large, so you might want to bring a chair or blanket to sit on after you’ve visited the stations.

Finally, if you don’t plan to attend this year, we’d love to see photos of your socially distanced holiday activities with matches – whether it be via Zoom, Facetime, or your Little’s front yard!

We know this year is going to look a little different, but we are happy that we’re able provide something festive during a difficult year for so many. We look forward to getting back in-person and indoors in the future.

Thank you so much for all you do! You all are incredible.

—Conner Patterson, Director of Match Support

admin2020 Holiday Party
read more

Cold-weather COVID Update for Bigs

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (November 19, 2020) I hope you are doing well and staying safe! Let me start by saying “Thank you!” to each of you! So many of you have kept mentoring your Little during these crazy times, and we appreciate you so much. The volunteer spirit has remained strong even during COVID.

I’m happy to report that BBBS-ETN’s Community-based Program has actually made more matches since we restarted matching in June than we made this same time last year! We are so excited to see the children in our community continuing to find meaningful mentoring relationships when so many other areas of their lives seem out of control. (While we$rsquo;re on the topic of new mentors, thank you to each of you who have spread the word about being a Big or referred a mentor to our team!)

All that said, it is important that the BBBS-ETN team and I keep our Bigs, Littles, and families safe, especially with cold weather and flu season right around the corner. You can find our latest guidelines for meeting during the colder months at TennesseeBig.org—we ask that each of you familiarize yourself with this document.

In the event you or your Little’s family is not comfortable meeting in-person, the safety guidelines also provide a number of virtual activities you can participate in together. By the way, if you aren$rsquo;t meeting in-person, please make sure that you are checking in with your Little as often as you can in order to keep your friendship strong.

Finally, please reach out to your Match Support Specialist if you need more ideas for virtual and in-person meetings. For Community-based mentors, now’s the perfect time to enjoy this beautiful Fall weather by going on hikes, making smores around a fire pit, and visiting the Zoo! Just remember to wear your masks, bring hand sanitizer, stay outside as much as possible, and social distance.

With gratitude,

—Jen Davis, Senior Director of Programs

adminCold-weather COVID Update for Bigs
read more

Scholarship Fund Now Available to Graduating Littles

The BBBSETN Scholarship Fund is designed to assist deserving “Littles” that wish to pursue additional education after high school.  The scholarship will be applied toward the student’s financial post-secondary educational expenses.

If you wish to apply, please complete the application and include all required attachments. All applications are due NO LATER THAN March 31, 2017. This provides our scholarship committee ample time to evaluate and determine the recipient(s). Scholarship recipient(s) will be honored during a special dinner on May 4, 2017. Recipient(s) will be notified well in advance of the dinner on May 4 so they can make plans to attend.

Purpose

  • To extend support from Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN (BBBSETN) beyond high school, continuing to assist students in achieving their full potential.
  • To provide financial assistance to graduating “Littles,” enabling them to further their education in a public or private college program, technical college or trade school.
  • To recognize “Littles” who have shown notable personal and academic achievement in high school.
  • To encourage high school “Littles” who are sophomores, juniors, and seniors to complete high school and pursue further education.

Eligibility

  • Nominee must successfully have completed a minimum of 12 months in BBBSETN after age 14.
  • Nominee must have obtained (or will finish this spring) a high school diploma or a GED certificate.
  • Nominee must have applied to a 2-year or 4‑year accredited college or university program, accredited technical college or trade school and intend to enroll within one year of the application deadline.
  • Nominee must enroll in a minimum of 6 semester hours or equivalent.
  • Nominee must have a signed media release on file with the BBBSETN.

For more information regarding the application, award amount and award selection please refer to the application itself. The application can be downloaded here: Scholarship Application
Please submit the completed application to the address noted below:

Big Brothers Big Sisters East TN
Attn: Scholarship Committee
318 N. Gay Street, Ste 100
Knoxville, TN 37917
Fax: 865.524.3466

Reminder, applications should be received in the office no later than Friday, March 31, 2017

If there are any questions, please call Kara at 865.523.2179

adminScholarship Fund Now Available to Graduating Littles
read more

Summer Safety

Summer is here! For our matches, it can mean a few different things. For our Community Based matches, it means that schedules are more flexible and less time can be spent working on homework (with more of a focus on FUN). For our School Based matches, some are on a break until the next school year**, but some School Based matches are transitioning from an in-school-only environment to a world of home visits and finding activities to do in the community. 

adminSummer Safety
read more