Big Brothers Big Sisters of Racine and Kenosha (BBBS), one of the area’s most influential nonprofit organizations, is near closing due to two fundraising cancellations associated with the Cornonavirus-19 pandemic.

Two, Bowl for Kid’s Sake fundraisers, which make up nearly 26% of the nonprofit’s budget had to be canceled in March. Now the organization is struggling to meet our financial obligations, including the
leaseholder of its 3131 Taylor Ave. headquarters. “The building is home to our administrative offices and hosts training and activities for our Littles (children),” said Sonya Thomas, the agency’s executive director.

“The board is doing everything within our power to keep Big Brothers Big Sisters alive for the next generation of children,” said Ronald Tatum, BBBS board president. The agency celebrates its 60th anniversary in July.

The organization depends on donations and special events to underwrite it’s expenses.

Traditionally, the Bowl for Kids Sake fundraiser gives BBBS a good start by covering first- quarter expenses, Tatum said. “It gets us through the first few months of the year until other funding sources kick in later in the year. The cancellation of two big events so early in the year has caused tremendous hardship, and we need help.”

To meet their most-immediate obligations, the nonprofit seeks to raise $10,000 by mid-April or they will be in jeopardy of closing. To reach its goal, they will host a crowdfunding campaign on Facebook this weekend. Friends and associates can also give on the organization’s webpage under the donation tab or mail a donation to Brothers Big Sisters, 3131 Taylor Avenue, Racine, WI. 54305.

No amount is too “Little. Every amount counts.”’ Tatum said.

Founded in 1959, BBBS is one of the county’s oldest and most successful youth mentoring organizations. Its closure would impact hundreds of local children ages 5 to 19, their adult mentors and the Racine and Kenosha communities.

The agency reports that after 1 year of mentoring:

  • 84% of Littles sustained or improved their grades. Higher grades are linked to higher school graduation rates.
  • 90% of Littles report that having a special adult in their lives is important, which is associated with improvements in school performance and mental health, as well as decreased delinquency.
  • 92% of Littles plan to graduate high school and college. Mentoring has been linked to higher educational and vocational aspirations, which have been shown to predict long term school performance and standardized test scores.
  • 93% of Littles maintained or improved their sense of belonging by peers or feeling socially accepted. Mentoring can help facilitate peer relationships and social acceptance, which have been linked to a range of positive outcomes, including school achievement, improved conduct, and a lower likelihood of dropping out.
  • 97% of Littles report maintaining or improving their attitudes toward risky behaviors. How a child feels about others their age engaging in certain risky behaviors such as using tobacco, skipping school or hitting someone is associated with actual negative behaviors and violence.

“I pray that this organization — one that does so much good for our most vulnerable families and
children, does not become a symbol of the economic catastrophe facing our community due to the
Coronavirus,” said Tatum.

For more information, contact Sonya Thomas, BBBS executive director at (262) 637-7625 or
sonya.thomas@beabignow.org

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