Tennessee Department of Human Services Announces $1 Million in Grants to Area Big Brothers Big Sisters Affiliates

Grant dollars will serve the needs of parents and their children across East Tennessee

January 22, 2021
May 10, 2021

Chattanooga, TN – (Jan. 22, 2021) – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) has awarded a $1 million grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga through its nationally recognized Two Generation (2Gen) approach.

These funds – $500,000 to BBBS-ETN and $500,000 to BBBS of Greater Chattanooga -- will support innovative programs that move children and their parents and guardians toward educational success and economic security. TDHS funds also support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee agency, which serves Nashville and surrounding counties.

Each grant is funded through federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program dollars and approved through a collaboration with the Tennessee General Assembly TANF Work Group.

Grant dollars will support hundreds of families throughout East Tennessee, including both urban and rural areas. In addition to those youth and families served through one-to-one mentoring relationships, BBBS agencies will provide educational programs for youth and parents and guardians while they wait to be matched with a mentor.

“The pandemic has only increased the isolation of the children and families we serve, nearly half of which report feelings of isolation and depression,” said BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh. “2Gen funding will allow BBBS agencies across East Tennessee to provide child and parent engagement events -- virtual at first and eventually in-person -- ensuring youth and families have access to economic and social supports. The engagement activities are more important now than ever before.”

“Our agency has long focused on delivering on outcomes for the youth we serve through a one-to-one mentor,” said BBBS Greater Chattanooga CEO Jessica Whatley. “This grant allows our team to expand our parental efforts to include trainings on parenting, family literacy, and more—allowing us to offer training and individualized services and to better engage, listen, and incorporate the voices of families. Once we are able to engage with our parents and guardians in-person, we look forward to the support network they will form through these trainings.”

TDHS launched the 2Gen grant program in 2014 as part of its Two-Generation approach to addressing the needs of parents and children at the same time. The department has since awarded 2Gen grants to fund programs with more than 60 organizations and educational entities like Agape, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.

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About Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters defends potential in children through strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Children enrolled in the program achieve measurable outcomes, including improved educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater self-confidence, and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organizations’ decades-long history in Tennessee.

During the COVID-19 crisis – and every day – BBBS is committed to keeping kids connected through a supportive mentor and dedicated case workers. The agency goes one step further, linking both families and caregivers with critical services, serving those affected by food insecurity, loss of income, lack of healthcare, isolation, and anxiety due to COVID-19. 


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