Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Big Brothers Big Sisters shuts down

Mentoring program could not sustain funding

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County office of Big Brothers Big Sisters closed its office at the Community Campus in Hailey on Monday, June 13. Program coordinator Bronwyn Patterson-Nickel will continue as a case manager for the existing matches through the end of July.

"The community-based matches will continue to meet uninterrupted," said Patterson-Nickel. "What will change is we will no longer be recruiting volunteers, enrolling new children and making matches."

Patterson-Nickel said the lack of sustainable funding is what has killed the program, which needed up to $100,000 to operate.

"All of our funding had to be raised in Blaine County and we couldn't do it," she said. "It's very disappointing and heart breaking to the 25 kids on our waiting list that will not be getting bigs (big brothers and sisters)."

Patterson-Nickel will operate out of her home as a case manager until the end of July when the funds run out. After July, case managers in Boise will continue working with the existing Blaine County matches.

"We served over 100 kids," she said, "There are about 30 kids who will continue under the program."

Patterson-Nickel said the Boise office is financially sound. It has been in the community for more than 30 years.

"It's really hard to raise money in this small community," she said. "Hopefully the program has inspired people to see what they can do to be mentors without a formal program. There are lots of ways to serve the community."

For details and questions, call 721-3809.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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