The Next Door’s two youth mentoring programs, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of the Columbia Gorge and Mentor for Success (MFS), will merge under a new name in the coming year and continue providing Gorge youth ages 6-21 with caring adult mentors, said a Next Door press release.
In October 2017, BBBS of America announced new minimum requirements for all affiliates to put into effect by Jan. 1, 2019. Due to the small, rural communities the local BBBS program serves, it cannot maintain the new standards. Among other requirements, the new standards include employing at least three full-time staff and a dedicated program director, as well as maintaining a sizable budget.
A silver lining to disaffiliating from Big Brothers Big Sisters is cost savings, said the press release. BBBS of the Columbia Gorge currently surrenders six percent of its annual budget to BBBS of America in order to maintain the BBBS brand. After the merger with MFS, these funds will stay in the community, providing local youth with the positive role modeling they need. Joining the programs will also streamline the enrollment process for both youth and volunteer mentors.
BBBS and MFS staff have been working diligently for the last few months to combine the programs into a newly-named youth mentoring program. A survey was administered in March with a handful of potential names, and Gorge Youth Mentoring was the favorite.
Staff will be rolling out a rebranding blitz in the coming months to familiarize the Gorge community with the upcoming name change. In the meantime, the programs will continue using the Big Brothers Big Sisters and Mentor for Success names for the remainder of 2018 and will officially become Gorge Youth Mentoring on Jan. 1, 2019.
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