Donor to Help Save Big Brothers Big Sisters program
An anonymous local donor’s significant contribution will allow Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center to keep its doors open.
The donation addresses the budget shortfall that prompted the CYDC Board of Directors’ decision last week to close the community-based mentoring program effective August 7.
“The CYDC board has graciously accepted this generous financial investment in the future of children in the Lowcountry,” said CEO of CYDC, Barbara Kelley-Duncan.
“We are so pleased and grateful to be able to continue providing these much-needed services to families and their children. It was our hope that a donor would come forward and help save this critical program, which is the only one of its kind in the tri-county area.”
All current staff will be retained, and Big Brothers Big Sisters will be able to continue offering vital support services to all 114 of its existing matches and to accept new matches.
“While this generous offer allows us to continue the program for the immediate future, we need the support of the community as we develop a long-term funding plan to ensure the long-term sustainability of this valuable community program,” said David Santos, Chair of the CYDC Board of Directors.
Independent research shows that the one-to-one professionally guided mentoring model used by Big Brothers Big Sisters is an effective one that makes a positive impact on the lives of youth.
A study found that after 18 months of spending time with their Bigs, compared to children not in the program, Littles are 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 52 percent are less likely to skip school, and are more confident of their performance in their schoolwork.
“I am so thankful for the outpouring of community support not only financially but also with all of those who invest their time in helping all of our Littles,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters program director, Qaitlin Peterson.
“Because of the community’s generosity, we can continue making matches and watching the growth and success of the youth we serve.”
Contact: Qaitlin Peterson: 843-266-5232
CYDC to Close Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program
It is with deep regret that the Board of Directors of the Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) has made the decision to close its Big Brothers Big Sisters program effective August 7.
Since becoming part of CYDC in 1981, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been grateful to provide community-based mentoring services that have changed the lives of thousands of young people right here in the Lowcountry.
“National data show that the Big Brothers Big Sisters model is highly effective and makes a positive impact in the lives of many children,” said CEO of CYDC Barbara Kelley-Duncan.
“Unfortunately it is a model that CYDC can no longer afford.”
Three years ago, a major funder pulled 75 percent of its funding for the Big Brothers Big Sister program, and we have been unable to overcome this challenge. Over the last several years, the program has received an inconsistent stream of revenue and has been funded completely through private donations, fundraisers and grants.
“There is still a tremendous need for youth mentoring services in the community, and we hope that other area organizations will be able to step up and fill the void,” said Kelley-Duncan.
CYDC will continue to focus on its core services which include providing academic, job-readiness and life skills training for foster care youth.
Questions regarding the Big Brothers Big Sisters closure should be directed to CEO of CYDC, Barbara Kelley-Duncan at 843-266-5222.
Milwaukee Bucks small forward and former Porter Gaud standout Khris Middleton is starting to make a name for himself in the NBA, nailing two buzzer-beating three-pointers this year to win games. Despite his rise, Middleton hasn’t forgot where he came from, and continues to give back to the community where he was raised. His Khris Middleton Skills Academy benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center returns for a third year June 5-7 at Porter-Gaud School.
The camp runs from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and is open to boys and girls ages 9-17. It will focus on basketball fundamentals, including ball handling, passing, teamwork and shooting. The cost is $100, with proceeds going to support BBBS of CYDC’s youth mentoring programs.
Visit khrismiddleton.net for more information or contact Brittney Middleton at (248) 396-1425 or email email@example.com.
The mobile bidding site for our Big Brothers Big Sisters of CYDC Golf Tournament Fiesta silent auction has officially launched! The official party is 5-8 p.m. Sunday, May 3 at the Sandcastle Club on Kiawah Island, but thanks to mobile bidding partner Bidr you don’t have wait until the event to stake an initial claim on your favorite auction item. A sunset helicopter ride? A dinner and carriage tour? Flyboarding for four ‘float’ your boat? Those packages and much more are available, so to preview them or start bidding just click here!
The oldest of three siblings, Kristina Coleman didn’t grow up with a mentor herself, but now that she is an adult the Bank of America process design consultant has made it a point to serve as a mentor to others.
Coleman has been a “big” with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) since November 6 of last year and is also an academic mentor through Be a Mentor, which entails working as a homework helper with one youth each week in the Bakker Career Center.
She learned about Big Brothers Big Sisters at a Be a Mentor appreciation dinner and was inspired after hearing a talk given by CYDC community outreach coordinator Louis Kines.
Coleman, who works from home and has a flexible schedule, says she would rather be doing something productive with her free time.
“I’m a firm believer that if you have time, you give it,” asserts Coleman.
It doesn’t hurt that Bank of America actively encourages volunteering among their employees, even offering an incentive of two hours pay each week for volunteer service.
Coleman enjoys spending her free time with her “little” Zuri, 9, and exposes her to a wide range of different activities. Zuri is an honors student who works hard in school so motivation in academic pursuits is not an issue.
“Her life is very structured. I try to find fun things for her to do,” Coleman says.
She has taken Zuri ice skating at the Carolina Ice Palace twice, to the park for a picnic, and to a College of Charleston basketball game, among other things.
They even won tickets to the South Carolina Aquarium when they went to take pictures with the Charleston Riverdogs mascot Charlie T. Riverdog.
Zuri loves pizza so the two will occasionally go to CiCi’s for a meal; mac n’ cheese is her favorite slice of pie.
Sometimes Coleman will surprise Zuri and meet her at her school for lunch.
“Zuri loves that,” says Coleman.
While Kristina is grateful for the opportunity to serve as a positive role model, the impact of the mentoring relationship isn’t just a one-way street.
“She definitely teaches me to relax,” laughs Coleman. “And just to have fun. To see the world through her eyes.”
The annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center is Saturday, March 21 at the Charleston Rifle Club, 2221 Heriot Street, Charleston, SC, 29403. The event raises funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of CYDC to help us create one-on-one matches between caring adult mentors and young boys and girls in the Lowcountry who are facing serious adversity.
Our bowling slots are almost filled, but you can still come out and enjoy the day with our $15 spectator passes that include 1 beer, 1 specialty cocktail, 1 food truck item, all the popcorn you care to eat, cornhole and fun!
This will be a family-friendly bowling event featuring food trucks, music and cornhole. Virgil Kaine cocktails for the adults. Sodas will be provided by Pepsi-Cola Bottling and Cannonborough Beverage Co. To learn more about getting involved, email Louis Kines at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holy City Brewing will provide beer!
BoardSpaces Cornhole will be providing cornhole at the event!
King Street Cookies will be selling cookies!
BFKS is about more than just bowling… it’s about people like you giving back to the children in our area through fundraising and championing the cause!
Three decades later, Jennifer Minchoff still has the acceptance letter that her Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center mentor Tracey Lewis received the day she learned she would be getting a mentee, or “Little.”
The notification, dated April 20, 1987, resides in a scrapbook of photos and keepsakes documenting the mentoring relationship between Jennifer and her “Big.”
Jennifer, now a trade broker with the company Bartercard Charleston and mother of three, will never forget the indelible impact the mentor experience had on her life.
An only child, she was 8-years old around the time when she was matched with Tracey. Jennifer’s parents divorced when she was just a toddler, and her dad was not much of a presence in her life.
“I never knew what a dual parent family was like,” recollects Jennifer.
Her situation at home meant that having another positive adult role model to look up to went a long way.
“As a kid, you think ‘my mom doesn’t know anything.’ Having a person between my mom and me’s age helped a lot,” reflects Jennifer.
“Just having someone to talk to.”
Activities the pair enjoyed included bowling, mini golf, movies, catching a magic show, or going to the circus or the Coastal Carolina Fair.
But nothing trumped arts and crafts time.
“I love crafts. That’s the one thing we did a lot together,” recounts Jennifer.
A strong mentor does more than just have fun with their mentee, though. They encourage them and motivate them to do well in school and succeed in life.
Jennifer recalls Tracey helping her with one of her school projects in which they made a mountain out of grits. “It’s the South,” she quips.
Their Big Sister-Little Sister mentoring match officially ended in 1989 when Jennifer left South Carolina to attend school in Pennsylvania (she still returned to Charleston during the summers), but the two’s correspondence never stopped, even lasting throughout high school.
In fact, Jennifer still remains in touch with Tracey today. As recently as last year they met up for a glass of wine and to catch up.
Jennifer and Tracey’s story is just one powerful example of the lasting influence a caring adult mentor can have on the life of a child facing adversity.
Our Bowl for Kids’ Sake personal and team fundraising pages are now up and running on Greater Giving! If you are interested in creating a page visit the link bit.ly/bbbsbfks. Then come out and bowl with us on Saturday, March 21 at the Charleston Rifle Club! There will be three, 2-hour bowling shifts throughout the day-one beginning at 10:00 a.m., another starting at 12:30 p.m. and the last one commencing at 3 p.m. Just follow these instructions to start your own fundraising page:
- Click “Personal Fundraiser Signup”
- Then select “Click Here to Join.”
- Log in with your existing Join Me account or create a new account.
- If you are creating a new account, Greater Giving will send you a confirmation email.
- Once you click on the confirmation email, you log in to your account and you have the choice of creating a personal fundraising page or a team fundraising page.
- You have the option to personalize your fundraising page, promote it on Social Media and email the link to friends and family! Thanks in advance for your support of youth mentoring programs in our community!
Start Something today!
Mia and Diana’s Story
Mia spent months asking her mom when she would finally be able to meet her big sister. After 7 months of waiting and asking, Mia got her chance to meet her big, Diana. They have now been matched for 3 months and enjoy spending time together. Mia and Diana are part of our School-Based Program, so they spend an hour a week together in Mia’s school. When hanging out, they enjoy playing board games, video games and talking. Diana also helps Mia out when she is struggling with school work. Diana recently had the privilege to attend a breakfast honoring Mia as student of the month.
One of Diana’s favorite moments with Mia was during this past Christmas season. Diana and Mia were working on coming up with a Christmas wish list. Diana had noticed that Mia’s backpack was worn and torn and asked if she would want to include a backpack on her list. Mia said no because she loved that her backpack was personalized with her name on it. At that moment, Diana knew exactly what she was going to give Mia for Christmas; a new pack with her name on it. When Mia received her gift she was absolutely thrilled!
Diana’s favorite part of being a big to Mia is knowing that she is making a positive influence on her life. Mia’s mother has expressed how much Mia enjoys their relationship and how much it means to the family. Mia is a big sister to two brothers and her mother has always felt it was a good idea that Mia have a big sister of her own.
One year ago Sandra was able to finally meet her Little, Ki, who at the time was 6. Throughout this past year they have been able to form a great relationship through experiencing life together. They have had the opportunity to attend baseball games, visit the aquarium, go to the beach, go boating, and much more. Sandra has gotten to know Ki’s family by involving Ki’s cousin and also by spending time with her grandparents. They like to cook and bake cookies together while also enjoying the occasional McDonalds lunch and playground time. Sandra says Ki is always extremely friendly with other children and is always making new friends. Ki is incredibly smart and never misses a single day of school!
This year Sandra and Ki were able to spend time together over Christmas. A proud moment for Sandra was when Ki felt compelled and excited to donate money to a Salvation Army bell ringer volunteer. Sandra and her husband were also able to take Ki, her cousin, and grandparents to Red’s Ice House for a fun Christmas dinner. She surprised the two kids with small gifts that kept them occupied throughout dinner.
One of the best experiences Sandra has had with Ki is the time she took her out on her boat along with her husband and golden retriever, Addie. Ki was so excited to be able to go out on the water and wasn’t scared one bit. Sandra was so proud that Ki was brave enough to jump into the water with her life jacket on. Ki enjoyed playing and receiving many kisses from Addie the golden retriever.
Sandra has really enjoyed being a Big and says one of the best parts is being able to see this sweet and spunky girl grow up. She has enjoyed doing things together that maybe neither of them would have been able to do if they weren’t matched. She enjoys being able to be a kid again when she is with Ki while also seeing the huge difference she is making in Ki’s life.