KOSCIUSKO — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana has received a $5,000 grant from the K21 Health Foundation in support of our sexual abuse prevention training for volunteers, youth and parents in Kosciusko County.
EMPOWER is designed to increase the awareness of child neglect/abuse risk factors and reduce risks/incidences of maltreatment so our youth reach their potential through positive, professionally-supported, one-to-one relationships. According to the Kids Count Data Center in Indiana, Kosciusko County Department of Child Services reported 17.4 percent of child sexual abuse cases were substantiated by CPS in 2016, a drastic increase over 11.7 percent in 2014. Poverty indicators for Kosciusko County from the same source indicated that 13.5 percent of children under age 18 were in poverty in 2016, up from 13 percent in 2015.
Big Brothers Big Sisters’ data from 2017 for Kosciusko County shows that 66 percent of children served were from a single-parent (or not living with either biological parent) household; 22 percent of children served had a parent who was incarcerated; 19 percent of children came from households with income less than $10,000; and 58 percent of children came from households with income less than $30,000.
BBBS serves youth who have a lack of access and opportunity to positive role models and provides them the opportunity to be engaged and transformed by a lasting friendship. BBBS focuses on meeting the developmental needs of the youth earlier in life rather than ignoring the danger signs that always lead to problems later. Attention, engagement and encouragement offered to youth before problems occur are three of the strongest proactive elements of youth mentoring. As a result of pairing high-need children with responsible and consistent adult volunteers, the youth have dramatic improvements in behavior, decision-making and academic performance. As children feel good about themselves and feel engaged in their schools, with their families and friends and with their Big Brother, Big Sister, or Big Couple, they increase their likelihood of success in school and in reaching their potential. Our community ultimately benefits from these youth growing up to become healthy, self-sufficient, and productive citizens.BBBS programs have no fees and do not receive funding in forms of vouchers, stipends, or reimbursements. All funds are raised through businesses, individuals and foundations.
K21 Health Foundation is a private foundation that focuses on opportunities to improve health and wellness for the citizens of Kosciusko County. This focus is evidenced in the foundation’s mission statement: K21 Health Foundation exists for the benefit of Kosciusko County citizens to ensure health care services are provided, and to advance prevention and healthy living. This will be accomplished by identifying health needs in our community, and maintaining an endowment so funding is available, through investments and grants, for those needs.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana is a nonprofit organization that serves children in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells, and Whitley counties in Indiana and Branch and Hillsdale counties in Michigan. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to help children reach their potential through professionally supported one to one relationships with measurable impact. To learn how you can positively impact a child’s life, donate or volunteer visit www.BBBSNEI.org.