CAROLINA YOUTH DEVELOPMENT CENTER
HELPS TO LAUNCH BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF THE LOWCOUNTRY
North Charleston, SC (March 5, 2019)—
Since 1973, Big Brothers has had a presence in our community. In 1981,
under the leadership of Ed Ledford, the Charleston Orphan House merged with Horizon House and Big Brothers to
become the Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC). Ledford recognized that children separated from families
needed more than a place to shelter. “When we added the Big Brothers program to the CYDC umbrella of services,
we were thrilled because we knew Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors would make a deep, meaningful impact on our
youth,” explained Ledford.
Over the last decade, the CYDC‐led BBBS community‐based mentoring program served more than 1,000 youth,
many within foster care. During this time, youth served consistently demonstrated improvements in avoidance of
risky behaviors, attitudes toward school, and social acceptance, parental trust and positive decision making.
Committed to realizing its goal to become our region’s most trusted and respected foster care expert, CYDC made a
strategic decision in November 2018 to support the creation of a new, independent BBBS organization. “It just
made sense,” stated current CYDC chief executive officer, Beverly Hardin. “Supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters’
independence will provide CYDC an enhanced opportunity to focus on its core mission and goals. It also makes it
possible for more children to gain caring mentors.” “It is exciting to see the program we started so many years ago
multiplying again. It is a transformative program and asset to our community,” explained Ledford.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry’s (BBBSL) launch is scheduled for April 2019. BBBS staff have already
assured current families and mentors that “matches” will stay open and that both the program staff and the model
will stay the same. “We are excited to offer this gift to the community. Moving forward, we intend to foster a
strong collaborative relationship with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry and its leadership. Together, we
will work to ensure many youth in foster care have mentors,” stated Hardin.
BBBSL’s new president and chief executive officer, Merridith Crowe, moved to the area in 2011. She served with
Trident United Way for seven years following service with two BBBS organizations in Salt Lake City, UT and
Tallahassee, FL. Its future program director, Christina Hoffecker, has been serving in the same role with CYDC for
five years and is excited to ensure both continuity and growth.
“With poverty as one indicator, there are roughly 30,000 youth facing adversity in the tri‐county region,” explained
Crowe. “Working with the community, we look forward to growing what is an already high‐quality program into a
more culturally‐relevant and data‐driven endeavor. Each day, our obligation will be to help an increasing number of
families protect and nurture the potential within the children they love.” Backed by generous philanthropists, a
diverse and growing board of directors, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, BBBSL has a bold goal to support
1,000 mentoring relationships within Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties annually by 2026.
“We are so grateful to CYDC for nurturing the program for many years,” stated Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
chief executive officer, Pam Iorio. “We see enormous potential ahead, look forward to watching the number of
children served grow, and will do all we can to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry efforts.”
About Carolina Youth Development Center
Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC), offers a continuum of services from prevention to intervention designed to
protect childhood, empower families, and prepare youth for adulthood. CYDC is committed to empower and equip our
community’s most vulnerable children by providing a safe environment, educational support, and career readiness, in
collaboration with families and community partners. Caring for young people who are victims of physical and sexual
abuse, neglect, and abandonment, as well as providing resources and support to area families at risk of having their
children removed from their home, CYDC reaches over 900 children and families each year.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry
Launching in April 2019, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry (BBBSL) will work with parents, guardians, and
volunteers to defend the potential of children facing adversity through professionally supported, strong and enduring
one‐to‐one mentoring relationships. Using a nationally‐recognized evidence‐and outcomes‐based model, BBBSL
mentoring relationships will work to protect and foster scholastic achievement, healthy peer‐to peer/family relationships,
avoidance of risky behaviors, and strong self‐concept in the children it serves.
For More Information, Contact:
Beverly Hardin, CEO, Carolina Youth Development Center
President & CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry