MOUNT VERNON — Thirty-nine years of serving Knox County’s children will come to an abrupt halt next month when The Children’s Connection will be permanently closing its doors. Located at 5000 Grove Church Road, Gambier, The Children’s Connection paired children with adults for a time of companionship, activity, work on homework or just a chance to share time together, one-on-one.
Beginning in Knox County in 1974, Big Brothers/Big Sisters was formed at a location on Pittsburgh Avenue. This local organization later became disaffiliated with BB/BS in 2006 and became a separate entity known as The Children’s Connection.
A gradual lack of funding proved to be the reason for the closure, according to program director Gail Lyall. The local organization was dependent on grants and fund raisers in order to keep operating. “They are just becoming harder and harder to get,” said Lyall of possible Federal grants. “A lot of the grants are focusing on the urban areas. There’s not a whole lot for rural, at least not that we could find that we could fit into.”
Two main programs with The Children’s Connection are Lunch Buddies where the adults would have lunch at least once per week with their student, and Big Buddies where high school students mentor fourth and fifth graders one-on-one.
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