Warren County mentor program at risk from lost funding

Warren County Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program at risk of ending

WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati says its Warren County program has lost an alarming amount of funding due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The program provides mentoring opportunities for youth in Warren County communities. It has served around 70 kids so far in 2020.

“There has been a real displacement of funds around nonprofits because of this, and it has come to our front door," Warren County Program Manager Carrie Dingus told FOX19 NOW.

Dingus explains some of the funds the program typically receives from the United Way of Warren County have been diverted to help people impacted by the virus.

Dingus also says they’ve been forced to cancel all in-person fundraising events.

“I would just be so, so sad if this program were to go away, because I have seen the success that it has with these kids," Big Sister Karen Martin said. "I really feel like it makes a difference.”

Martin says she and her little sister matched around 9 years ago and “hit it off right away.”

Her little is no 16. Martin says the two of them are still in contact through the program despite not being able to meet in-person because of the pandemic.

“We are texting," Martin said. “We are playing Words With Friends, so that keeps us connected.”

Dingus says the program needs to be very proactive about replacing the funds they’ve lost.

To that end, a program volunteer has started a campaign, and donations are starting to come in.

So far they’ve raised more than $27,500, of which $10,000 has come from the Warren County Emergency Relief Fund.

“Our goal is to get to $80,000 to replace the funds that we had previously that are not there," Dingus said.

All of the money will reportedly stay in Warren County.

If you’d like to donate to the campaign, click here.

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