Names in all stories have been changes.
Empowering Youth with Big Brothers Big Sisters...
Shane was a 2nd grader in Boyd County Schools when his great-grandmother who is his permanent guardian reached out to his school and Big Brothers Big Sisters to find a male role model for Shane. Big Brothers Big Sisters reached out to Marathon Petroleum to see if there was a Marathon employee who would have the time to be a School Based Big Brother for one hour a week. After emailing the request out, a Big Brother candidate (Ryan*) emerged and went through the short volunteer processing steps and was matched to Shane. From the very beginning Shane and his Big Brother Ryan were a wonderful match! Ryan helped Shane with his school work and when they had free time they shot a lot of hoops in the gym at Shane’s school. To an onlooker it would look like a grown up and a child shooting basketball but it was so much more than that. The time spent shooting ball was time spent talking about the importance of school. It was time spent talking about “basketball is fun, but doing well in school is crucial.” It was time role modeling sportsmanship for Shane. Shane is now a senior at Boyd County High School. Ryan and Shane are still matched in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, in December they will celebrate their 11th match anniversary. They still see each other once a week when Shane is in school. They no longer work on spelling words and shoot basketball. Now they have conversations about physics, peer struggles, the importance of academics, and what Shane wants to do with his future. Shane currently has plans to attend the APT program after graduation and would love to follow in his Big Brother’s career footsteps. This match is amazing, they have created a bond that will be in place for the rest of their lives. It has truly been an honor to have them as a part of our agency.
United Way and Hillcrest-Bruce Mission
Hillcrest-Bruce Mission developed their Welfare to Work program which aligns with United Way of Northeast Kentucky’s Gateway to Success initiative. Since 2017:
130 participants have been in the program
18 have earned their GED
31 were accepted to a paid work-study program
33 have started college
7 have graduated college
93 have been hired
This is permanent help and this ends generational poverty one family at a time.
Example of The Three E’s at Work at Hillcrest-Bruce Mission
We met Nicole in 2019 when she signed up for our GED classes with Annie from the Adult Education Program. She worked hard and studied and passed her GED pretty quickly. She then signed up for courses at ACTC and earned President's List distinction, enrolled in the LPN program and graduated as a Nurse. After becoming a nurse, she started working at a local nursing home and enrolled in the RN bridging program and will graduate next year. It doesn't end there though - she became a foster parent and is on her way to being a homeowner. This is what we see from about everyone we work with - given the right support and encouragement, not only do they become successful, but they give back to their community 10-fold.
The Three E’s and Families with RAPP & Born Learning
Fewer than half of the children in EKY entering kindergarten each year are prepared for success.
In 2013, a series of grants from Toyota of Kentucky and the United Way of Kentucky (the state UW organization) created a series of Born Learning Academies throughout the state. Born Learning is a program that supports families with preschool children to prepare them for kindergarten. Through a series of six sessions, the families learn how their preschooler grows and develops and how every day, free opportunities can make a significant difference in preparing the child for kindergarten. This program was adopted into the state’s Race to the Top educational budget because of its success.
A partnership with the local United Way was established to help oversee the program, its implementation and goal attainment.
As the Born Learning program started year two, coordinators noticed some participants were program grads from the previous year. Mostly grandparents raising grand children, they stated that they were looking for the support and comradery they had received during the program.
This highlighted a need already identified – support for relative caregivers is crucial to the success of families dealing with addiction, incarceration and other familial strains.
A grant from WellCare of Kentucky enabled United Way of Northeast Kentucky to work with local partners to develop the RAPP – Relatives As Parents Program, a series of support sessions for individuals raising children due to extenuating circumstances.