HELENA – After a year of fighting to keep its doors open, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Helena and Great Falls (BBBS) is happy to report that the organization has been financially stabilized.
Last year, BBBS saw a large portion of its funding disappear due to state cuts. Management was forced to reduce staff and cut programs just to survive.
“Due to those budget cuts, we had to get back to basics in our programming,” explained Colleen Brady, president and CEO. “Unfortunately we had to eliminate our High School Bigs Program and the staff that covered that program.”
Brady said it was a long, hard-fought year for fundraising, but they are now at a point where they can start looking to the future.
“Our whole goal was to stabilize the boat. It just felt like we were taking on more and more water, and finally we’re at a point where the boat isn’t rocking anymore,” said Brady. “We can now take a breath and look at where we are and see what we need to do.”
Brady added she’s incredibly thankful for her staff, board and the community for giving their all to make sure they stayed afloat.
“This community is absolutely phenomenal, and they rose to the occasion as soon as we put the word out. We worked hard with them, and I just think they saw the value of this program in the community,” said Brady.
BBBS will continue to need funding and is working on replenishing their reserve funds.
“That’s the answer […] that reserve and eventually the endowment,” Brady added.
But more than money, right now they need mentors for their kids in need.
“We need big brothers particularly, but really we just need people to give an hour or so a week toward helping a kid,” noted Brady.
Some children have been on the waiting list for years, hoping to be matched with a “Big.”
BBBS will also be moving its office to a space at the end of June to a generously provided new location in the 6th Ward.
-Reported by John Riley/MTN News