Big Buddy program looks for help to keep the program running

Big Buddy program looks for help to keep the program running

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Cape Fear Volunteer Center is looking for options to continue running a program that’s helped thousands of children over the last 70 years.

There are currently about 350 children in the Big Buddy program. Director Annie Anthony says they’re looking for options for hiring a case manager to run it.

“I think in order to keep something for 70 years in our community, we have to be flexible and we have to be creative and so that’s what we’re trying to do,” Anthony said.

It would be the center’s only paid position.

“Big Buddy is just such a big commitment, I mean its got to be monitored correctly because there are risk factors," Anthony said. "You want to make sure all the big buddies are trained and background checked and reference checked, there are just so many moving parts to it.”

Right now, Anthony and one other part-time volunteer do all of the program’s coordination.

“Now, we’re open to partnering, like if someone has some extra hours, another agency has you know, 10-20 hours of an employees time that they want to dedicate to it, we can piece that together with maybe a secondary agency,” she said.

If they cannot acquire funding for the position, which Anthony says would be about $56,000, they may be forced to “change the scope” of it.

“Right now, we’re 5-18 year-olds. Maybe we have to go down to 5-12 year-olds, but the problem with the gangs and the sex trafficking and the opioid abuse.. Its not that we need to lessen the program, the problem is that we need to engage more people in the program to make these children successful,” she said.

The Cape Fear Volunteer Center took over the running of the Big Buddy program after Family Services of the Lower Cape Fear closed because of funding issues in 2006.

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