Budget Cuts Could Force Kids Out of Big Brothers Big Sisters Program

Friday, February 25th 2011, 9:19 pm
By: News 9

Jacqueline Sit, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A huge cut in federal funding could jeopardize the future of more than 50,000 children in Oklahoma and across the nation who participate in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

In the program, adults mentor at-risk children. Congress may eliminate more than $37 million in federal funding to several programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters. In Oklahoma, the proposed cut could force the program to cut jobs, affecting 700 local children.

"One to one mentoring really affects a lot of things, from poverty rates to graduation rates to incarceration rates," said Mike Thomas, the Area Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters. "All the big issues that Oklahoma deals with and falls fairly low on a lot of lists can be dramatically impacted."

Laura Bradbury is a Big Sister to Carmelita Scott. She said after participating in the program for three months, she can't imagine her life with her "little."

"It'll be awful for that to end for me and her, and also for anyone who's coming into this program," Bradbury said.

The possible cuts in federal funding would also affect programs such as AmeriCorps and HUD. The House has passed the legislation and now the Senate must vote.