Friday, October 27, 2017

Big Brothers Big Sisters Crisis

Last month Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia was extremely fortunate to receive a year-long $20,000 grant to increase staff knowledge of LGBTQ issues through training & provide assistance with developing local partnerships to best serve LGBTQ youth. However soon after accepting the LGBTQ grant a representative of three foundations halted funding to the organization & has not fulfilled a financial pledge made late last year. Unfortunately the amount was so great it may force suspension from serving our LGBTQ youth. They need to raise $60,000 by the end of this week. Sara McDowell, Executive Director Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central WV stated, “After accepting an LGBTQ grant in August, three local foundations halted funding – up to $80,000 -- which may force us to suspend services in some of the communities we serve. These are areas of the state that have the highest rate of poverty; highest rate of drug use & overall, the highest juvenile incarceration rate & the highest number of kids in foster care. WV also has the highest percentage of teens who identify as transgender. So this grant was important – it was to help staff become more aware of risk factors & to develop partnerships to provide ongoing support to our LGBTQ youth.” This is the county where a Clay County, WV school bus driver who picked up an openly gay teen & as he was taking his seat told him “No faggot activity will be permitted on this bus. In my Bible it states that ‘faggots will burn in Hell,’ & I will not condone it.”
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