Local BBBS receives quality award from national organization

The Telegram staff

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties (BBBSFKC) has been recognized as a 2020 Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) Quality Award winner by the national organization. 

Every year, the BBBSA Nationwide Leadership Council, made up of local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency leaders and board members, select agencies for excellence in the 1-to-1 mentoring program, which ignites the power and promise of youth. Despite the challenges of the past year, including the pandemic, social unrest, and economic uncertainty, 49 out of the 236 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country received top honors in quality.

“I am so proud of our board and staff for making quality programming a priority for our local children,” Tammy Wilson, executive director/CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties, said. “Their hard work and dedication equates to more positive youth mentorship in southwest Kansas and a brighter future for area youth.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters was founded more than 100 years ago as an organization focused on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. It grew out of a need to offer an alternative path for youth facing the juvenile justice system. The program is based on in-person connections, but social distancing due to the pandemic prompted agencies to find innovative ways for volunteer mentors (‘Bigs’) to stay connected with their mentees (called ‘Littles’). 

BBBSFKC served 226 youth with Bigs last year. Staff provided support and coaching using a virtual model; they also found ways to connect Bigs, Littles and their families with additional resources including food, job training, and counseling services in the community.

“Over the past several months, I’ve heard from agency leaders in rural towns and metropolitan communities, those in the suburbs and every place in between,” Artis Stevens, president /CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, said. “And there’s one theme I’ve noticed everywhere, and that’s the power of resilience. We congratulate these agencies for earning these top honors. The level of commitment and dedication is outstanding, to see staff doing all they can to make sure our youth will not only survive these challenging times but thrive.”