One Less “Big Brothers Big Sisters”

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Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national organization which matches volunteers to children who could use a supportive adult in their life. Children in foster care, in single parent families, children with an incapacitating illness–are the kinds of youngsters who might be given priority status.

The sponsoring agency has been known to do a careful job in screening would-be volunteers. For example, one branch of this national agency recruited clinical psychologists to offer pro bono psychological testing using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and clinical interview to screen potential volunteers.

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that the Dutchess County Big Brothers Big Sisters is closing.

“Social services providers say the closing of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program is part of an economic trend affecting nonprofits throughout the region.

“The Dutchess County Community Action Partnership announced the closure of the program Tuesday, citing continuing cuts to private and public funding.

“‘We’ve struggled a long time trying to maintain the program,’ said Elizabeth Spira, CEO of Dutchess County Community Action Partnership, parent agency of the program. ‘When the last funding stream was not going to be renewed, we had to make a decision. It was a very difficult one to make.’

“The end of the program comes at the end of this month. The program provides one-on-one mentorship for children up to age 17 and affects 102 mentors and children, mostly from low-income, single-parent households, Spira said.”

Research has noted positive gains for children who have participated in the Big Brothers Big Sisters programs.

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