Latest News

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.

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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

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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

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License Plate Artist Call

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (October 8, 2020) The Big Brothers Big Sisters Tennessee State Association is calling on professional artists to create artwork for a new license plate. All proposals should be emailed to BigLittlePlates@TennesseeBig.org by Friday, Nov. 13.

The selected artist will receive a $1,000 honorarium, as well as significant, ongoing recognition through his/her art featured on a specialty license plate sold throughout the State of Tennessee.

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October Business Partnerships

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (October 5, 2020) Here are some of the exciting partnerships our team is rolling out during the month of October. Make plans to visit and thank the below businesses for investing in the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee!

Nourishing Change at Three Rivers Market: BBBS-ETN will be Three Rivers’ featured non-profit throughout the month of October. Please consider stopping by 1110 N. Central Street to give the Three Rivers team a high five—and to round up your purchase!

Queso for Kids: Not to be cheesy, but our friends at Moe’s Southwest Grill continue to be amazing. Between Oct. 5 and Oct. 31, $1 from each cup of queso sold at the Cumberland Avenue and Northshore Drive locations will benefit BBBS-ETN. The Moe’s team has also agreed to provide five meals per week for families in need during the month of October.

Target Circle: From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, we’re once again a featured non-profit through the Target Circle program. So, next time you drop by a Target for that one item that turns into a full cart, be sure to place a vote for BBBS-ETN.

Lids: Starting this fall, Lids is excited to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters for limited-edition custom embroidery hats! This partnership, which runs in our local stores Oct. 1, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021, is an opportunity to spread awareness and raise funds for the mission of BBBS.

In addition to those businesses, thanks to all of our wonderful partners throughout the region. Corporate partnerships empower resilience during the pandemic and also allow the BBBS-ETN team to connect families with essential services like food, rent assistance, behavioral health services, and more.

For a full list of the businesses of all sizes who support our agency, visit TennesseeBig.org/Partners.

Speaking of October promotions and activities, there’s still time to register for BBBS-ETN’s October events – including the BBBS Golf Classic (Oct. 1-31) and the Virtual Quarry Run 5K (Oct. 9-18).

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 ignite the power and promise of youth. Youth 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 organization’s 50-year history in the Knoxville area.

During the COVID-19 crisis – and every day – BBBS-ETN is committed to keeping kids connected through a supportive mentor and dedicated case workers. The agency goes one step further, connecting both families and caregivers with critical services, serving those affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, isolation, and anxiety due to COVID-19. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

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Moe’s to host “Queso for Kids” campaign—and provide meals to families in need during month of October

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

MOE’S SOUTHWEST GRILL LAUNCHES “QUESO FOR KIDS” CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE

Partnership will provide financial support, as well as meals for marginalized families

KNOXVILLE, TN (October 1, 2020) Moe’s Southwest Grill is launching its first “Queso for Kids” campaign in October to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.

Moe’s will donate $1 to BBBS-ETN for every cup of queso sold at its Cumberland Avenue and Northshore Drive locations from Oct. 5-31. Additionally, the restaurant will hang mobiles, also known as pin-ups, recognizing customers who donate $1 to BBBS-ETN.

As part of the campaign, Moe’s will feed disadvantaged families served by BBBS-ETN each week throughout the month. Moe’s Meal Kits serve 4-6 people and feature all the ingredients for each family member to create a home dining experience.

“We are unbelievably grateful to expand our long-time partnership with Moe’s Southwest Grill,” BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh said. “From supporting our volunteer recruitment efforts, to hosting fundraising initiatives like ‘Queso for Kids,’ to providing food directly to youth – the Moe’s team continues to positively impact this community and the families Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee serves.”

“The Moe’s brand is built on supporting local communities, and partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters allows us to have an immediate impact on Knoxville-area families struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic,” franchise owner James Sills said. “I am proud to support the Big Brothers Big Sisters team as they keep kids connected and link families to essential services, including food, rent assistance and so much more.”

Visuals

• Families in need receiving food

• Donors to the “Queso for Kids” campaign speaking regarding their support

• BBBS-ETN match support staff connecting families to food and other resources

Primary Contact: Tyler Boldin, TBoldin@TennesseeBig.org

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 ignite the power and promise of youth. Youth 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 organization’s 50-year history in the Knoxville area.

During the COVID-19 crisis – and every day – BBBS-ETN is committed to keeping kids connected through a supportive mentor and dedicated case workers. The agency goes one step further, connecting both families and caregivers with critical services, serving those affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, isolation, and anxiety due to COVID-19. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.

About Moe’s Southwest Grill

Welcome to Moe’s!® Founded in 2000 and based in Atlanta, GA, Moe’s Southwest Grill® is a fast-casual restaurant franchise that serves high quality and fresh southwestern food. Moe’s has an extensive variety of menu items to please the entire family – from burritos to specialty items like quesadillas, nachos and stacks. Whether you visit one of our 700 franchised locations or have us cater your next event, free chips and salsa come with every order, and each restaurant has a salsa bar and serves our famous queso. Moe’s Southwest Grill® has been recognized as the Brand of the Year in the Fast Casual Mexican Restaurant category for two years in a row based on the 2016 and 2017 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Studies. Learn more at www.moes.com.

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BBBS-ETN Golf Classic: Registration Now Open

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (September 1, 2020) Dear Friends,

I’m writing to let you know that registration for the 2020 Golf Classic presented by EdFinancial and Regal is now open!

We’ve modified the format, giving you more ways and more time to win prizes, all while keeping participants safe and socially distanced. We’ve also passed along the cost-savings of this new format to you, reducing the price of 2020 registration – making the decision to invest in the mission of BBBS-ETN even easier.

Visit BBBSGolfClassic.com to sign up today. Act fast! All teams who register by Tuesday, Sept. 15, will receive a $25 gift card.

By the way, thanks to our incredible sponsors, 100% of your registration fee will help provide professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships for more than 700 East Tennessee kids, keeping them connected to mentors during this critical time.

With gratitude,

—Cody Crowell, Golf Classic Chair

P.S. For more information on all BBBS-ETN’s upcoming events, including the 2020 Virtual Quarry Run, presented by Vulcan, and the rescheduled Big Heights Rooftop Crawl, visit TennesseeBig.org/events.

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2020-2021 Events for Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (August 21, 2020) The last months have certainly been a challenge for our team, our Littles, our families – and likely for you as well. With that said, I could not be prouder of the resiliency of this community. Together, we make a pretty phenomenal team, and I’m certain we’ll get through this crisis.

As Big Brothers Big Sisters looks forward to the future – and as we put together plans in the midst of great uncertainties – I want to share with you, our supporters and previous event attendees, a current schedule of events.

The details and dates could certainly change, so please be sure to visit TennesseeBig.org/events for the latest.

50th Anniversary Gala: We originally scheduled this year’s Cash for Kids’ Sake/50th Anniversary Gala for August 2020. It’s now set for August 20, 2021—because what’s better than celebrating a 50th anniversary? Celebrating a 51st anniversary, of course!

BBBS-ETN Golf Classic, presented by Edfinancial and Regal: Typically held each June, our golf tournament is a go! The event will take place in October, and registration opens Friday, August 21. For more details on modifications and safety precautions, and to sign up your team, visit BBBSGolfClassic.com.

Virtual Quarry Run, presented by Vulcan Materials: The year’’s race will take place virtually from October 9 through October 18! In the spirit of the quarry run, participants with the greatest verified elevation gain will also be recognized. Register now on the race website.

Big Heights Rooftop Crawl, presented by FirstBank: Moving from October, we’ll bring a version to you in Spring 2021. We’ll share more details in the coming months as we explore options to keep party-goers safe. We might even keep the Halloween theme. Masks are in this year.

Hall of Fame Celebration, presented by FirstBank: Since we can’t come together for the gala this month, we’re planning a digital Hall of Fame in Winter to celebrate some very special supporters. Stay tuned for details!

Bowl for Kids’ Sake 2021: We’ll likely postpone BFKS, which typically takes place throughout April. Have no fear, though! You’ll have many opportunities to celebrate at the aforementioned events, and BFKS isn’t going anywhere.

As we navigate the uncertain future, your safety and the safety of our community are Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee’s top priorities. We’re committed to adjusting and innovating, and we can’t wait to see you at an event or two (or more!) over the next year.

As always, we appreciate your ongoing investment in the future of East Tennessee’s youth!

To your good health,

Brent

P.S. In addition to visiting TennesseeBig.org/events, connecting with BBBS-ETN on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn is another great way to catch agency event news.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee to Host School-Supply Drive

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (August 19, 2020) Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee will host a school-supply drive on Tuesday, Aug. 25, from noon to 7 p.m.

This year’s event will take place at BBBS-ETN’s Knoxville office (318 N. Gay Street). In light of COVID-19, mentees and their parents will RSVP for a pick-up time slot in order to ensure that social distancing is possible.

In addition to receiving school supplies, families will have the opportunity to utilize drive-up Wi-Fi and to have a first look at BBBS-ETN’s Big Little Computer Lab and Family Resource Center, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation.

The event – which ensures marginalized youth in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee program are prepared for school – takes the place of BBBS-ETN’s annual Back to School Bash, which was canceled due to COVID-19.

Visuals

• Children and families receiving school supplies

• Youth and parents utilizing drive-up Wi-Fi

• Altar’d State and BBBS-ETN staff distributing materials to students

School supplies, including notebooks, folders, hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, and more are still needed. Donation inquiries can be sent to Programs@TennesseeBig.org.

Day-of Contact

The day-of media contact will be BBBS-ETN Match Support Director Conner Patterson. Patterson can be reached at CPatterson@TennesseeBig.org or (650) 245-6543.

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 ignite the power and promise of youth. Youth 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 organization’s 50-year history in the Knoxville area.

During the COVID-19 crisis – and every day – BBBS-ETN is committed to keeping kids connected through a supportive mentor and dedicated case workers. The agency goes one step further, connecting both families and caregivers with critical services, serving those affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, isolation, and anxiety due to COVID-19. Learn more about ways you can join our cause at tennesseebig.org/get-involved.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee offers new services to parents and families

NEW UPDATES FROM BBBS-ETN

KNOXVILLE, TN (July 29, 2020) Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is thrilled to announce new services to better serve youth and families during COVID-19, including the following:

Match Support: Though our team is working remotely, we’re continuing regular support for Matches.

o Remember, if you do not feel comfortable with your child seeing their mentor in person, we encourage alternative connections via Zoom, Facetime, and telephone.

Online Match Activities: Speaking of alternative connections, we’ll continue providing online enrichment and Match activities at YouTube.com/BigBroBigSisETN.

Drive-up Wi-Fi: Thanks to the support of RCN Technologies and US Cellular, we’ve set up a drive-up Wi-Fi hotspot at our building (318 North Gay Street).

o For log-in details, contact your Match Support Specialist (MSS) – listed below.

Phone App: BBBS of America has developed “The App,” an easy and safe way for matches to stay in touch remotely. Contact your MSS for more information!

Text Us: Since March, our team has conducted outreach to connect families with essential services. If we were unable to connect with you, or if you have emergent needs, please text BIGHELP to 865.290.7762.

Connect with Us: For the latest on our COVID-related efforts, connect with BBBS-ETN on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or visit TennesseeBig.org/COVID19.

BBBS-ETN Match Support Specialists

Community-Based

Patterson, Conner | 865.862.9984

Stone, Laurie | 865.329.0168

Site-Based

Bevil, Stacy | 865.474.8651

Carter, Savannah | 865.523.2179

Ross, Mandy | 865.243.3878

Mentor 2.0

Baker, Whitney | 865.243.8846

King, Mia | 865.415.2025

Thomas, Jake | 865.862.6425

Sisson, Traci | 865.523.2179

Tri-Cities

Wick, Brittany | 423.247.3240 x 3

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 ignite the power and promise of youth. Youth 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 organization’s 50-year history in the Knoxville area.

During the COVID-19 crisis – and every day – BBBS-ETN is committed to keeping kids connected through a supportive mentor and dedicated case workers. The agency goes one step further, connecting both families and caregivers with critical services, serving those affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, isolation, and anxiety due to COVID-19. Learn more about ways you can join our cause at tennesseebig.org/get-involved.

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