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Hillcrest Family Services Drops Big Brothers, Big Sisters

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DUBUQUE, Iowa Big Brothers, Big Sisters will no longer serve Dubuque. Hillcrest Family Services, which has worked as an affiliate to the national mentor program since '96, announced Wednesday it has ended the relationship.

Hillcrest said its current mentoring program will keep running and be re-branded as "Mentor Dubuque."

The program's coordinator, Amberai Sindlinger, said Hillcrest officials decided to make the split for a couple reasons. For one, they'll save some money.

"There are a lot of demands on resources that were asked as being an affiliate. Program software, things that they wanted us to have," said Sindlinger.

Paul Lemley, Hillcrest's marketing and social media coordinator, said the biggest reason for the split is independence. He said the group wants to grow their local mentor program to include family mentoring. Lemley said it'll be simpler to do without the oversight of Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

"We didn't feel like we couldn't, but it's definitely easier when we can re-brand into our own program and change things as needed, without going through Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America," said Lemley.

Lemley said the new name, "Mentor Dubuque," will most likely be the only difference their 110 currently matched kids and mentors will notice. He said the current program's rules and requirements will stay put through the transition.

Lemley said, despite missing out on the brand recognition and infrastructure Big Brothers, Big Sisters brought to the table, he anticipates Mentor Dubuque will be better than it ever was.

"We feel that as an organization, Hillcrest is in the position to capitalize on its own brand and grow the program into its own entity," said Lemley.