Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia to close, but mission will continue

Organization will close, effective Jan. 31, 2021

ROANOKE, Va. – While a Roanoke Valley non-profit will be closing its doors early next year, another organization is stepping up to see its good work continue.

Effective Jan. 31, 2021, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia will close; however, that doesn’t mean the end of the organization’s mentoring program.

“We determined over time that the expense of running the program, as Big Brothers Big Sisters was just too much of a financial capacity for us and so in the past several months, we started looking out to other organizations who could assist,” BBBS Board President Laura Carini said.

Total Action for Progress, also known as TAP, will facilitate the program’s 50 current matches in an effort to ensure the kids involved continue to receive services and mentoring.

Not only will TAP take the reigns of that program, but the Roanoke-based non-profit will also assume care of BBBS’ after-school tutoring program, outdoor adventures, and in-school mentoring programs that are current partnerships with public school systems and Roanoke City Parks and Rec.

“We’re no stranger to mentoring at TAP, we’ve been doing it for many many years, and I think we do it relatively well through several of our programs which I think is why we were an obvious match for trying to figure out a new home,” Stacey Sheppard with Total Action for Progress said.

Due to declining grant funding and donations over the years, combined with the difficulty of fundraising during the COVID-19 pandemic, the BBBS board unanimously decided it is no longer financially feasible to continue under affiliation with the national organization.

“While this was a difficult decision, after careful consideration we feel this is the right move to prioritize our children and the mission,” said Laura Carini, BBBS Board President, in a news release. “While we are sad to close the area’s largest and longest-running youth mentoring program, we are confident it is the right choice. We are forever grateful to TAP and confident the organization provides the experience and resources necessary to best serve our children.”

TAP will not use the name Big Brothers Big Sisters due to the expense of the affiliation fees that accompany the name and branding.

The mentoring program will become a component of TAP’s Super Hero Kids program and be called Super Hero Kids Connections.