COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - Big Brothers Big Sisters is officially back up and running in Collier County.
Financial problems froced the national organization to shut down the Southwest Florida chapter last June.
Now, more than a year later, they're ready to start matching "bigs" and "littles."
It hasn't been an easy road to get Big Brothers Big Sisters back open in Collier County. Last year, the Southwest Florida chapter shut down and with that closed all of its matches.
Catherine Celeberto says she received the news in a letter. "The letter said, if you continue with your service that you would be liable and they weren't going to support you."
Catherine and her little Alexia have been matched for a year and a half and have stayed together despite that letter.
"I had already established a relationship with Alexia. I certainly wasn't going to break it," says Celeberto.
The two get together every weekend finding fun and new activities to enjoy. "I've got four children in my family and if I do this it's a one on one thing. You get your own time to spend with somebody," says Alexia.
The national Big Brothers Big Sisters organization asked the Sun Coast chapter based in Venice, Florida to expand their territory south. Over the past year they created a new board, fundraised and built the program back up officially opening a new Naples office this week.
"We're back," says Jenny Stupinski, the new Community Resource Director for Collier County. "We're ready to go and we're ready to serve the county and the kids, specifically the ones that got left and brand new ones."
Stupinski says they're hoping to make a hundred matches by June 30th of next year.
The new office is located at 809 Walkerbilt Road, Suite #3 in North Naples. If you're interested in being a "Big" or "Little" they're taking applications now. You can call the new office at (239) 331-7133.