COLUMBUS, Ga — Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Chattahoochee Valley is one of 20 organizations in Columbus that will be receiving some of the $732,000 in crime prevention grants that the Columbus City Council approved on Tuesday.
The organization pairs children with mentors in an effort to give them positive guidance and ultimately keep them from making decisions that could lead them down a path to crime.
On Wednesday, Bianca Gibson took her daughter, Kennedy, to sign up for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
“By this program being here, that gives them something to do as far as [not] being in the streets, trying to rob a store, breaking into car. All that’s just too much, and they [are] just babies. They need somebody to show them. Not everybody’s parent is there, and this program shows and guides,” Gibson says.
District 9 City Councilor, Judy Thomas, says the need for more positive role models in the community is the primary reason why the grants were awarded.
She says, “Council has been very aware of the need to provide funding for our children and teens to help prevent from getting them into behaviors that lead to crime.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters Director, Beatrice Blue, says their organization will be receiving $20,000 of that grant money.
She says the extra funding will have a major impact on the 75 at-risk children who participate in their program.
“We are going to also be working with the family component, which will be potentially impacting 225 people with this opportunity that the city has offered us,” Blue added.
9-year-old Kennedy Gibson says she can’t wait to meet her new mentor.
She says, “Having a big brother or big sister helping me with my homework, will help me learn better. To get a new friend, I’m just really glad. I’m just really, really glad.”