Big Brothers Big Sisters cutting service to eight counties

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A decrease in financial support means that Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities will stop services in eight counties.

The Pioneer Press reports the move will affect about 600 kids and their mentors. At the end of October, the agency will no longer operate in Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Goodhue, McLeod, Scott, Sherburne, and Wright counties.

Last month the agency laid off nine employees that covered the eight affected counties.

President and CEO Gloria Lewis said the agency is dealing with a drop in financial support, as well as the elimination of a federal grant that funded a program for kids with parents in prison.

In its 2012 annual report the organization reported that it was operating at a deficit of more than $273,000. The report says the agency was hurt by the loss of nearly $600,00 in funds from three major sources.

In some cases, the agency will continue serving older kids who are near high-school graduation and planning to attend college.

The agency is the sixth largest affiliate of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. It served more than 2,800 children in Minneapolis, St. Paul and regional suburbs last year.

Since 1920, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities has been matching adult volunteers ("bigs") and children ages 6 to 18 ("littles"). It does so with a modest-sized staff and frugal budget, relying on the commitment and kindness of its volunteers.

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