Mentor Clinton County, Inc., formerly Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clinton, has announced that the agency will close permanently on June 30, 2021. The closure is due to diminished funding over the past several years and the cancellation of fundraisers because of the pandemic.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clinton started in Clinton County in 1981, matching youth and adults in a community based program. In 2010, the first school based program was initiated at Northeast Community schools in Goose Lake, using high school students as the mentors for the elementary students. School based mentoring was started in the Fulton schools in 2011. In 2016, Easton Valley schools in Preston and Miles started their school based mentoring program with the agency and in 2017, Calamus Wheatland school program was added. In 2019 - 2020, Mentor Clinton County was involved in a grant for youth mentoring at Clinton Community schools, matching adults with students at Jefferson and Bluff Elementary schools and Clinton Middle school for afterschool mentoring programs and lunch buddies.
The agency left the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America federation at the end of 2018 and became an independent mentoring agency, changing their name to Mentor Clinton County, Inc. The agency has been accredited by the Iowa Mentoring Partnership for many years.
Mentor Clinton County has served hundreds of childen and youth over the years. Mentoring has shown to help children improve their self-esteem, advance their educational success, and decrease involvement in risky behaviors.
The school mentoring programs had not been started this school year due to the pandemic. Community matches will end on May 31.
Peggy Sellnau, Executive Director, stated, “We want to express our gratitude for all who have been involved in our program over the years. Those who have volunteered, made donations, attended fundraisers, supported us in any way, and those who have allowed their children to be involved in the program – Thank you! We are incredibly sad to have the program close.”