NEWS RELEASE: Roanoke, Va., (December 15, 2020) – After decades of serving the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia (BBBS) will close effective January 31, 2021. Despite the unfortunate closure, Total Action for Progress (TAP) has graciously agreed to assume care of the BBBS mentoring program. TAP will facilitate the program’s 50 current matches in an effort to ensure those children in the Roanoke Valley continue to receive services and mentoring.
TAP is also assuming care of the after school tutoring program, outdoor adventures, and in-school mentoring programs that are current partnerships with public school systems and Roanoke City Parks and Rec.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) model of one-to-one mentoring comes at a great financial expense. Due to declining grant funding and donations over the years, coupled with the difficulty of fundraising during a pandemic, the BBBS board unanimously decided it is no longer financially feasible to continue under affiliation with the national organization.
“While this was a difficult decision, after careful consideration we feel this is the right move to prioritize our children and the mission,” said Laura Carini, BBBS Board President. ”While we are sad to close the area’s largest and longest running youth mentoring program, we are confident it is the right choice. We are forever grateful to TAP and confident the organization provides the experience and resources necessary to best serve our children.”
TAP will not use the name BBBS due to the expense of the affiliation fees that accompany the name and branding. The mentoring program will become a component of TAP’s Super Hero Kids program, which focuses on healing trauma and restoring hope and connections for youth in our community. The mentoring component of Super Hero Kids will be called Super Hero Kids Connections.
The program will operate under the supervision of TAP Housing & Human Services Director Stacey Sheppard. TAP has many years of experience leading mentoring programs, including Virginia CARES, Fathers First, Y.A.L.E. (Young Adult Life Enhancement), and more.
Annette Lewis, TAP president states, “TAP commends Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia for its outstanding history of providing opportunities for the lives of both children and adults to be enriched. We regret that BBBS has to close and will do our best to continue the important mentoring work that has begun. TAP also looks forward to working with the current partners and adding new ones.