In a day and age where few things shock me, this one did:
Last month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia was extremely fortunate to receive a year-long $20,000 grant to increase staff knowledge of #LGBTQ issues through training and provide assistance with developing local partnerships to best serve LGBTQ youth.
Soon after accepting the LGBTQ grant, however, a representative of three foundations halted funding to the organization and has not fulfilled a financial pledge made late last year.
Sadly, the amount was so great it may force us to suspend some services and programs.
Big Brothers Big Sisters believes inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. We stand true to our mission to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
This includes all children.
One in three kids don’t have the support of a caring role model. Studies show LGBTQ youth are less likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to have supportive adults in their lives. Every day we see the positive impact mentoring can have, and for LGBTQ youth, this can be especially important since they are at greater risk of attempting suicide and being victim to hate crimes and bullying.
Suspending services, even temporarily, would have a negative impact on the children currently in our program. Many would feel let down yet again. Another disappointment in a series of disappointments. Rejected again.
If we are to once and for all change the long-term narrative for WV kids and the Mountain State, it is time we recognized the value of ALL of our children. It is time we invest in their future, which in turn defines the future for our state. I don’t want to look back in 10 years to see talent left undiscovered.
I called and had a very nice chat with Sara McDowell, the executive director of the organization, and this has put a real gap in there budget (close to $100k). And since these are funds that were promised last year and then reneged upon, it makes their problem even worse.
It’s worth noting that these are children who are also being hit by the double whammy of the opioid crisis we talked earlier, and in some cases adults are trafficking the children for sex to feed their addiction. It’s just a horrible mess.
(via WV Public)