WESTBROOK — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine has been chosen as the 2021 recipient of Androscoggin Bank’s MainStreet Foundation $25K for Kids grant.

The $25K for Kids grant is one of the largest gifts the organization has ever received and the team is excited for the impact it will have on the community, especially during the pandemic.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is nationally recognized as the premier one-to-one youth mentoring program and for over 25 years, BBBSSM has been changing lives in Southern Maine by bringing Bigs (mentors) and Littles (mentees) together.

“Androscoggin Bank’s MainStreet Foundation funding comes at a critical time, making it possible for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine to immediately expand our recruitment program,” said Nicole Avery, BBBSSM executive director. “Due to the isolation caused by Covid-19, kids have shown increased signs of anxiety and depression, causing our waiting list to grow. A one-to-one mentoring relationship can make all the difference in the world by building resiliency and self-confidence, keeping a youth on track to reach their full potential. This grant will make a BIG difference!”

Increasing the number of mentors in Cumberland and York Counties will ensure that every child who wants a Big, gets one, according to a program press release. The recruitment program expansion will implement new initiatives that will make this possible, such as:

• Launch of the Bigs Advisory Committee, a group of advocates engaging in volunteer recruitment, outreach, marketing, and fundraising to advance the mission of BBBSSM

• An increase in communications (quarterly newsletters, quarterly mass texts to Bigs, monthly social media profiles of Littles waiting to be matched, etc.)

• Expanding partnerships with local businesses and organizations

• Working with Cross Cultural Community Services to educate staff on how to better serve the BIPOC community

• Launch of a new website which will allow for a more seamless application process

“We strive to positively impact the lives of the most vulnerable youth so they may have a supportive and safe environment. In awarding Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine our Annual $25K for Kids grant, we aim to ensure that no kids are left waiting for a ‘Big.’ We’re proud to fund this effort to ensure that every kid who seeks to form a caring and meaningful connection with an adult has the opportunity to do so,” said Steven Closson, MainStreet Foundation president and former CEO of Androscoggin Bank.

filed under: