Vinton Police Department officers Captain Fabricio Drumond, Detective Corporal Brandon Hill, and Officer Dustin Bray recently accepted a challenge from Vinton Town Councilman Keith Liles to go “Over the Edge” to raise funds for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia organization.
“Over the Edge” has been held annually for the past five years at the Patrick Henry Hotel in downtown Roanoke. This year 64 brave individuals raised at least $1,000 which gave them the privilege of rappelling from the roof of the Patrick Henry 11 stories (132 feet) down the side of the building to the sidewalk below– plenty of safety gear, roof and ground support– but no net. Their efforts raised thousands of dollars for the non-profit organization that serves the children of the Roanoke Valley. By May 19, over $61,000 of a $100,000 goal had been raised.
Actually, Liles challenged other members of Town Council and town leadership, but only the three officers were willing to take on the daunting challenge. Liles is employed by Allstate, one of the sponsors of the event, and works with the program.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring, hoping “to change their lives for the better, forever.” For more than 60 years it has operated under the belief that “inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life.” Most children served by the non-profit organization live in single-parent and low-income families, or households where a parent is incarcerated.
The organization says it is “the nation’s largest donor and volunteer-supported mentoring network. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).
When children and teens have the influence of a caring adult, they are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and to focus on academics. Today’s youth face a variety of challenges and being matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister can help them navigate these challenges and reach their potential.
Independent studies have indicated that providing a system of ongoing evaluation and support through Big Brothers Big Sisters helps families by improving the odds that Littles will perform better in school, avoid violence and illegal activities, and have stronger relationships with their parents and others.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia served 385 children in Southwest Virginia in 2017. They work with children in Roanoke County, Roanoke City, Salem, Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Radford, and Pulaski County areas.
The organization depends upon the money raised from the “Over the Edge” fundraiser to carry out the work of matching children with caring adult mentors and providing ongoing support to the child, volunteer mentor, and the child’s family.
“Bigs” go through thorough background checks and an interview process before being accepted as mentors. Bigs and Littles are matched based on location, personalities, and preferences with full support provided from the beginning of the relationship.
Matched Bigs and Littles spend a few hours every month doing things they already enjoy— sports, reading, going to a museum, or just talking. They set up a schedule that is convenient for them both. Sometimes they meet for activities at the child’s school.
The “Presenting Sponsor” for Over the Edge 2018 is Allstate. Other sponsors include Burns/McDonnell, Bank of Botetourt, Cox Communications, the U.S. Army, Oakey’s, AEP, Meredith Coleman, Huffman and Nixon PC, Carilion Clinic, New River Electrical Corporation, Roanoke Valley Orthodontics Dr. David L. Jones, and Lanford Brothers Co.
In the past four years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia has raised over $325,000 for one-to-one mentoring programs in the Roanoke Valley through “Over the Edge.” The three Vinton police officers have raised over $2,100 for Big Brothers Big Sisters so far.
One hundred percent of the money raised through “Over the Edge” stays here in the local community.
Donations for Big Brothers Big Sisters may be made at http://www.bigslittles.org/give/.