It was disheartening to read the Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia lost $80,000 in funding, threatening its ability to help area youth, simply because they accepted a small training grant to help understand the needs of LGBTQ teens.
Studies show that one in three children does not have the support of a caring role model, and that LGBTQ youth are less likely than their peers to have supportive adults in their lives. Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer mentors fill the gap, spending time with the children, showing them the care and concern they need and deserve.
Every day, those who work with teens see the positive impact mentoring can have, and for LGBTQ youth, this can be especially important, as they are at greater risk of being the victim of hate crimes, bullying and attempting suicide.
For more than a century, with the help of volunteers and generous donors, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has helped change kids’ lives and given them the opportunity to reach their full potential. That they would lose their ability to provide these services in an area with a high percentage of at-risk youth — and all because of a political agenda — is beyond infuriating.
If West Virginia is to thrive as a state, it is imperative that we recognize the value of all our children and invest in their future. I call on the donors who withdrew their pledges to reconsider the harsh effects of that decision. And, I call on West Virginians who care about children to dig into their pockets and help Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia make up the lost funds by making their own donations. You may donate online at www.BigLittleWV.org/donate.