Big Brothers Big Sisters Worried about Budget Cuts

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POSTED: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 7:26pm

UPDATED: Monday, March 14, 2011 - 4:02pm

"When I need help with stuff, she'll help me. And when I'm sad, she'll help me feel better," Jameelah said.  

Like hundreds of children in El Paso, 8 year-old Jameelah has her big sister to go to when times get tough.

"In our program, we serve children who have the same kinds of risk factors that research has proven to be predictors of youth violence and youth crime. So, it doesn't mean that every child in our program would end up being incarcerated, but of course some might," Senger said.

 Beth Senger, the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters, says proposed budget cuts may force the agency to close its doors, causing bigger problems later on.

"We know that if we don't keep prevention programs in place, the city has the potential to have some really awful things happen," Senger said.

Representative Dee Margo says it's too early to tell whether or not Big Brothers Big Sisters will shut down or not.

"It's premature to say that they are going to lose everything, but it's also not the time to say there may be opportunities to salvage it. I don't know yet," Margo said.

According to the Texas Youth Commission, it costs $360 a day to incarcerate a youth, where mentoring costs only $5 a day.

"If they're thinking about trying drugs, they have someone to talk to. If they're thinking about joining a gang, they have someone to talk to. And when you take away that kind of safety net, you just run greater risks down the line and you run greater costs down the line," Senger said.

Margo says it's not about whether the program is successful, it's about having the cash.

But, kids like Jameelah say they want their relationships to last.

"I want Ms. Veronica to be in my life forever," Jameelah said.

Comments News Comments

I can't believe the government is even thinking about cutting this funding. So many children and families count on Big Brothers Big Sisters. It brings out the best in everyone involved. If the government won't step up, it's up to El Paso to take care of its own. I for one would be happy to make a personal donation and I challenge others to do the same. This program is too important for us not to back it.

Big Brothers Big Sisters does amazing things for El Paso children. Their mentoring services are so important to El Paso children. All children can all benefit from a positive role model. We should all fight to keep this organization thriving!

I truly believe in Big Brothers Big Sisters. The staff is very passionate about what they do. They care about the families as well as their mentors. I pray there are no cuts made! Big Brothers Big Sisters you rock!

I am proud to be part of such a great organization where volunteers make a difference and the staff is very caring.

I love Big Brothers Big Sisters!!!

Thanks for all you do to make this community a better place

It is amazing what mentoring can do. This is such a great organizations. Went to Bowl for Kids Sake with my company. Loved it and was moved by what they do!

I think Big Brothers Big Sisters is a wonderful organization. The children are our future and mentoring has been proven to enhance a child's academic success and that's what we need here in El Paso. I have been a big sister for the past 4 years so I'm very familiar with the organization and the staff. The staff to me has been awsome. Even when I've had questions or wondered how to handle a situation they truely helped me through. What a wonderful organization with a lot of heart. Carrie

I hope it works out for Big Brothers Big Sisters, it is a great organization that mentors and rehabilitates kids and families.

I have been a Big in the program for years and adore my little sister...the activities they host are a blast, we have so much fun! I hope the government thinks long and hard about cutting such an amazing program!!

I can not understand why the government would want to cut a program proven to make a difference. You either pay a little now to help these kids or you pay a lot later!

I have been a part of this organization for years. I love my Little and have seen how this program makes a difference. The ladies who work their have hearts of gold. Keep up the good work!

This is a wonderful organization that makes a huge difference. I hope it all works out well.

BBBS is a lame organization. The intentions are good, when it comes to the volunteers who mentor the children, but the employees of BBBS, are only interested in their salaries. If the doors of BBBS have to close it's because the employees are to lazy and dumb to fundraise in order to make it work. They just expect a government hand-out.

Harsh words!! You have no regard for all the hard work they do and youth they serve . Question...have you been to their dance for kids sake fundraiser... AWESOME!!

What an awful comment. You clearly do not know what you are talking about.

Big brother. Big sister. I can apprciate the effort, but to me it's treating a side effect. I believe a ounce of prevention, is apound of cure. It's better than doing nothing. But what about involving the mothers and fathers of these children, Wgat about people willin to adopt to give guidance to these troubled kids. The latest craze is to adopt a politiclly correct adoption of a black child from Africa. I say let them get adopted, come on adopt American or re-unite with their parents

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