Community

Big money for Big Bothers Big Sisters

Simon Powley, right, of Bank of America, presents a $5,000 check to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County. From left, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, Peggy Dyer, Lt. John Dyer and Tamra Sipes accept the grant.   - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Simon Powley, right, of Bank of America, presents a $5,000 check to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County. From left, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, Peggy Dyer, Lt. John Dyer and Tamra Sipes accept the grant.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County received a welcomed financial boost Friday through a Bank of America Charitable Foundation grant, administered by Washington State Mentors.

Peggy Gray of WSM said the $5,000 grant is unique because it is unrestricted, meaning Big Brothers Big Sisters can use the funds wherever they’re needed most.

“This is exactly what we have to do to make this program work in our community,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters Executive Director Peggy Dyer.

Washington State Mentors distributed Bank of America’s $75,000 contribution among 14 organizations across the state.

“Mentoring is a potent agent for positive change in society,” said Lt. Governor Brad Owen, co-chair of WSM. “This money is very helpful in small, rural communities where these programs are just as important as those in lager cities, but not as recognized.”

Simon Powley of Bank of America said the grants are to provide an opportunity for young folks to flourish and do well.

“There is simply no better investment into the future than in our youth today,” he said to more than a dozen people at the celebration.

Police Lt. John Dyer, the founding member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County, said a strong partnership between the Navy, city and community has made the program successful.

“This partnership is the success behind the local program,” he said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is the oldest youth mentoring program in the nation, with a focus on serving youth 6 through 14-years-old. The program matches a “Big” with a “Little” for one-on-one mentoring in the classroom and through other activities. Island County’s program was established in 1999 as a community grassroots effort.

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