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Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend receives grant money to expand programs

Posted at 5:54 PM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 17:54:03-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — When it comes to support, having a mentor can change a child's life.

Now, even more children will get that experience. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America will soon get millions to help expand its mentoring programs.

"It's a lot of fun. It's very rewarding. I like to see his positive reaction to the time that we have," said Investigator Paul Osborn, with the Tallahassee Police Department.

Osborn looks forward to his weekly visits with Elijah at Hartsfield Elementary.

"Just walking around the school with him, he has lots of confidence," said Osborn. "People will say who is that and he says 'oh that's my big.'"

About a month ago, TPD partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend for their Bigs in Blue program.

The program pairs up children from Hartsfield Elementary with a police officer to help guide them through life.

On Monday, BBBS of America learned that the organization will get $10 million to help with mentoring programs.

When Alva Strickland, the CEO of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Big Bend heard the news, she thought about what a tremendous impact this will have on the Bigs in Blue program.

"The more money we can bring in and more revenue generated through our programs the more kids we can serve," said Strickland. "Our agency here has a waiting list of two to three hundred kids at any given time."

Right now 20 members with TPD participate in the Big in Blue program. The goal is to partner more children up with officers like Osborn.

"I'm hoping that if we can get in the schools, make a positive impact then hopefully the mentorship will lead to a curve in the violence that we're seeing in the younger community," said Osborn.

The money will be implemented into the program starting in January.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, click here.