Monadnock Region update
Dear Friend of BBBSNH,
I am writing to provide you an important update about Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire's (BBBSNH) one-to-one youth mentoring program serving the Monadnock Region.
As you may know, BBBSNH was one of more than a dozen local nonprofits to receive word last week from the Monadnock United Way that grant funding we were awarded through FY2020 will stop after April 30. This news came just one year after our agency's funding from the Monadnock United Way was reduced by 60 percent and we continued on without making any organizational changes. We have valued the unwavering support of the Monadnock United Way over the years, and appreciate the heart-wrenching position that the agency's staff and volunteers have been in as they faced years of fundraising shortfalls.
Big Brothers Big Sisters has served Monadnock Region youth ages 6-18 in Community Based and Site Based mentoring relationships for 46 years. Over the past year, local volunteer mentors have offered friendship and guidance to 112 area children. Because we charge no fees to families or volunteer mentors and receive no state funding, we rely on funding raised locally from grants, fundraising events, local businesses and individual donors to support the $1,800 annual cost to make and support each mentoring match. We need to continue to increase our grant and individual gifts from the region.
I want to assure you that we will continue to serve existing mentoring matches in the Monadnock Region. However, this significant loss of local funding will require some changes to our program there. It is with a heavy heart that I share that we were forced to lay off one employee and as of March we will be closing our office on Marlboro Street in Keene so that overhead can be put directly back to serving youth in the area. Monadnock Region mentoring matches will continue to receive the same level of support from professional staff and we are looking to office-share with another organization during this transition.
Our Site Based matches at area schools and after school programs will continue, and over the spring and summer our team along with each school/site will be assessing our capacity to resume Site Based programming in the Monadnock Region in the 2020-21 school year.
I want to be clear that we remain committed to serving the youth of the Monadnock Region. We are grateful to receive funding from some local cities and towns, as well as many area businesses and individual donors who recognize the urgency of our mission and choose to invest in our youth. As a statewide organization since 2015, we are committed to ensuring that donations and grants we receive that are designated for specific communities are used to serve children in those communities. We hope to continue to receive local support for our program during this difficult time, as we work diligently to identify and seek alternative funding sources to replace the lost revenue. We couldn't continue our programming if it weren't for the support of individuals and other grant funders in the area.
Despite these financial hurdles, the urgent need for one-to-one youth mentoring in the Monadnock Region community remains as strong as ever. In particular, youth are among those hardest hit by the fallout of the opioid crisis that continues to ravage our communities. Many children experience the effects through abuse, neglect, loss of a parent to incarceration, or displacement to foster care or the care of relative. The toxic stress from these and other traumatic experiences in childhood has been shown to reduce academic achievement and decrease social-emotional wellbeing. The long-term effects include increased risk of chronic health conditions, substance misuse or even early death.
But, research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others shows that a key protective factor that can mitigate the negative effects of childhood adversity is the consistent presence of caring adults. That is precisely what BBBSNH provides.
The quality of the support we offer our Monadnock Region youth and volunteers will continue to meet our high standards, and we remain steadfast in working to provide mentoring experiences for as many children as possible. It is always difficult to make these changes but we feel these will enable us to keep serving the amount of children we are in the region.
If you have any questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-430-1140 ext. 1019. If you'd like to contribute to support our ongoing work, please visit our website. Thank you for standing with us in defending the potential of local youth.
Stacy W. Kramer, MSW
Chief Executive Officer