Community responds to Big Brothers Big Sisters Program closure

Community responds to Big Brothers Big Sisters Program closure

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Big Brothers Big Sisters Program (BBBS) of the Carolina Youth Development Center will close in August because of a lack of funding.

"It's heartbreaking for everyone involved. I know that it probably was a difficult decision for them to make," says ‎Zoë Roff.

The Board of Directors of the Carolina Youth Development Center decided to close the program when a major funder pulled 75 percent of its funding to the program.  Roff was a volunteer, or "big", with the BBBS program in the past.

"They were really extraordinarily rewarding years the time I spent with my kids, I call them my littles," says Roff.

Roff was a "big" for three years and during her time she was matched with three "littles." 

"One young man I started with him and he was a twin, he was one of 10 kids," says Roff.  "His sister didn't have a big, his twin we often did things all together all the three of us."

We spoke with program director of BBBS, Qaitlin Peterson earlier this week, she says it's difficult to find mentoring program funding.

"There hasn't been enough financial support to continue to provide good services to our children and that's really the important part of our program," says Peterson.

Peterson assures they will provide assistance for families effected by the program's close. 

"Giving parents those resources, volunteers those resources, making sure that they know what those options are in the area," says Peterson.

"It benefits everyone, not just the individuals involved, not just the kids, not just their parents who are able to find great activities for the kids, and not just the "bigs" who get to have that experience," says Roff.  "It's a community organization that benefits all of us."

After serving Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston County for more than 30 years, the program will close August 7, 2015.