GROTON, Conn. (WTNH)-- After close to 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Connecticut is closing their doors because of a funding shortage.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters has been a part of this community for years. It was started in 1965 and has been at the same location for the past decade.
But now there is a for sale sign there now because on November first this tradition ends.
Woodworking is a hobby for Charlie Ebbinghaus and it's something he's shared with his Little Brother John, who also has a talent for making turkey shaped pumpkin decorations.
"He actually coined a name for it he calls it, a turk-o-lantern,"said Ebbinghaus.
Ebbinghaus first started mentoring John when he was in third grade.
"John was very shy at the time. He didn't say a whole lot," said Ebbinghaus.
He then became his Big Brother so he could also see him outside of school.
"We'd go for hikes, go to museums," said Ebbinghaus.
And most of all the library.
But the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization which serves 800 families in southeastern Connecticut will close November first.
The non-profit lost its funding from the United Way which says "This decision was not made lightly... (and only came after) significant concerns with the financial condition and management of the organization."
"It's very disappointing and as I said, it's also very sad," said Ebbinghaus.
There are other in school and after school mentoring programs like the Boys and Girls Club. Ebbinghaus will continue to see John, now in high school, a relationship which once named 'Match of the Year' has come full circle.
"John looked at me and he says Charlie do you think I could ever become a mentor or big brother? And it was just okay, it worked," said Ebbinghaus.
Folks there say over the next couple of weeks they will try to figure out ways those who want to mentor and those who need mentors can continue to connect.
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