GREEN RIVER – A possible change to the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program was discussed at the Sweetwater County Commissioner meeting Tuesday morning.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters program has been in this community for over 30 years and has historically been housed under the YWCA banner. On Tuesday, local Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Melinda Baas and YWCA Director Lauren Schoenfeld spoke about a possible change to the program.
Baas said both the Big Brothers program and the YWCA have been looking at ways of growing and expanding.
“We know there is a need out there,” Baas said.
To accomplish this, both programs believed maybe they need different structure. The plan discussed is to move the Big Brothers Program out from underneath the YWCA and make it part of the Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The programs receive funding through several sources including the United Way and the county. Currently, county funding for Big Brothers Big Sisters is given to the YWCA which is then put in the local program budget. The commissioners had several questions about future funding for the programs.
Chairman Wally Johnson specifically asked about these changes.
While it was explained the change will most likely take place this year, since the finances are already in place, the financial changes will not start until next fiscal year. Baas and Schoenfeld said most likely the two groups will make separate requests during the budget process next year.
Commissioner John Kolb voiced concerns noting the county is already preparing for a decrease of $5 million during next year’s budget process.
Not only will the move bring fiscal changes it will also bring administrative changes. The move is to help expand services and the first expansion will be part of this change. The YWCA is already moving towards a new program which teaches financial empowerment and education. With the changes, Baas will become the director of this program with the state placing its own administrative team for the Big Brothers program.
Baas stressed the administrative changes will not affect how local programs are ran.
“Everything we do local will stay local,” Baas said.
The United Way will fund the start of the new fiscal education program. Schoenfeld said the YWCA provides financial education programs nationwide and this was a service they have wanted to add. With the change, they can now move forward.