Big Brothers Big Sisters of CYDC Awarded Staples Foundation Grant

October 8, 2015  |  BBBS News

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center has been awarded a $2,000 grant from the Staples Foundation,the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc., under a program that lets Staples associates direct donations.

“BBBS of CYDC is so grateful for the continued support of Staples as one of our community partners and we are thrilled to be a Staples Foundation grant recipient,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of CYDC program director Christina Hoffecker.

“Support like this is the reason we are able to continue providing mentors for at risk youth in the Lowcountry.”

This grant is part of a philanthropic initiative created by Staples Foundation which allows Staples associates around the world to direct funding to non-profit organizations that are focused on education or job skills. The program, called 2 Million and Change, encourages local community engagement by awarding larger grants to organizations where associates are highly engaged in volunteering or fundraising – up to $25,000 per organization.

North Charleston Staples associate Christopher Scott nominated Big Brothers Big Sisters for the grant award.

In 2014, Staples awarded more than $2.4 million in grants to 1,056 local organizations in support of education and job skills programs, including tutoring for pediatric cancer patients, job skills development for individuals with disabilities, school supplies, mentoring and more.

“Staples Foundation is committed to encouraging associates around the globe to make a difference in their local communities and through 2 Million and Change we enable them to directly support the programs where they personally see the greatest need,” said Emily McCann, senior manager of community and giving for Staples, Inc.

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2nd Annual Tech Companies Bowl for Kids’ Sake

August 19, 2015  |  BBBS News

Presenting sponsor BoomTown and lane sponsors Blue Acorn, Benefitfocus, PeopleMatter,, Good Done Great, Omatic Software and SIB will IMG_6833come together 6-8 p.m. Thursday, September 3 at The Alley Charleston in support of raising funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center.

Each team will get two hours of bowling and twelve beers, plus there will be a fun competition with the winner receiving a trophy and a special prize from The Alley. There are six bowlers to a lane, but make sure you invite your friends to come have a beer and cheer you on to victory!

Additionally, a Spirit Award will reward the team with the funkiest sartorial style so get creative and don’t skimp on the wacky attire!

Proceeds go to help fund BBBS of CYDC’s professionally-guided one-to-one mentoring matches for Lowcountry youth facing adversity.

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Donor to Help Save Big Brothers Big Sisters of CYDC

July 23, 2015  |  BBBS News

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

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Carolina Youth Development Center to Close Big Brothers Big Sisters

July 16, 2015  |  BBBS News

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.

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Khris Middleton Skills Academy to Benefit BBBS of CYDC

May 29, 2015  |  BBBS News
Khris headshot

Milwaukee Bucks small forward Khris Middleton

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 for more information or contact Brittney Middleton at (248) 396-1425 or email

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BBBS of CYDC Golf Tourney Fiesta Silent Auction Mobile Bidding Site Launches

April 29, 2015  |  BBBS News

The mobile bidding site for our Big Brothers Big Sisters of CYDC Golf Tournament Fiesta silent auction has officially launched! The official party is 5-8IMG_5643 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!

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Volunteer Spotlight: Kristina Coleman

March 27, 2015  |  BBBS News
Kristina Coleman with Zuri2

Kristina and Zuri having some fun on the lanes at Bowl for Kids’ Sake.

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.

Kristina Coleman with Zuri and Charlie Riverdog

Kristina and Zuri posing with Charleston Riverdogs mascot Charlie T. Riverdog. During this same outing, the two won tickets to the South Carolina Aquarium.

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.”

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Bowl for Kids’ Sake is Saturday

March 17, 2015  |  BBBS News

The annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center is Saturday, March 21 at the Bowl for Kids' Sake Logo ImageCharleston 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

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!

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A Mentor’s Lasting Impact

February 11, 2015  |  BBBS News
Jennifer Minchoff Image jpeg2

Jennifer with her mentor Tracey during a visit to see Santa. On the left is a retro Bowl for Kids’ Sake brochure from 1988.

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.”

Jennifer Minchoff Image jpeg

Jennifer posing during a Halloween party that was held at the BBBS offices.

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.

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Start a Bowl for Kids’ Sake Fundraising Page!

January 23, 2015  |  BBBS News
Team Gutter Gals

Team Gutter Gals wore an all-tutu ensemble at last year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake event.

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 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!

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