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North Central W.Va. loses Big Brothers Big Sisters

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — North View Elementary fifth-grader Joshua Waterman had just been assigned a Big Brother when he and his family heard the news that Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Central West Virginia is closing its doors due to funding cuts after 30 years of service, officials said.

Waterman was paired with his fourth-grade teacher, Michael Spatafore, who has been a longtime Big Brother in the program.

“I feel bad because I wanted to be in the Big Brother Big Sister Program,” Waterman said. “Mr. Spatafore is a fun person.”

Waterman’s mother, Barbara Spidle, said the family did not take the news well.

“When I got the call, we were both upset. He (Joshua) took it worse than I did. It’s not fair for Josh, who just got into the program,” she said.

July 31 is the last day of operation for the non-profit organization, Executive Director Sylvia Hawkins said. Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Central West Virginia serves Harrison, Marion and Monongalia counties.

“We serve an average of between 100 and 125 children a year. That’s just through matches. We also serve an additional 30 to 35 children on our waiting list with monthly activities,” she said.

The organization has lost between $25,000 and $30,000 in revenue streams since November, Hawkins said. She said several funding streams received last year were not received this year, though she declined to be specific.

“I don’t want to point fingers at anyone,” she said…

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