PENSACOLA — The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce celebrated the ribbon cutting of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida (BBBSNWFL) Bear Family Foundation Center for Hope Sept. 26 at the new BBBSNWFL home, 1320 Creighton Road in Pensacola.

The event celebrated the agency’s brand-new facility that serves as the main hub for the five-county service area. Equipped with ample space for staff growth, new technology, and added visibility, this new home will allow the agency to expand services and programs to ultimately serve more children in need.

This home came to fruition with the incredible support of the governing board and community partners. The unveiling of the facility’s name, The Bear Family Foundation Center for Hope, was in celebration of the foundation’s generous $500,000 matching gift. The Bear family has been part of the BBBSNWFL family for 30 years and has been instrumental in bringing the agency to this special moment.

IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area was also recognized for their contributions to the agency’s success. In 2018, BBBSNWFL was a recipient of the IMPACT 100 grant. A highly visible street sign, private interview space, and a large multipurpose room that will serve as a safe space for match gatherings and trainings are just a few of the elements from the grant.

“It’s a true honor to welcome the community to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida Bear Family Foundation Center for Hope,” said President and CEO Paula Shell. “As I reflect, there have been so many people who have invested in us, believed in us, and helped guide us to where we are today. Home for us is not just a work space, it’s a place we associate with safety and love, a place of comfort for all the children we serve. Thank you to all who defend the potential of our Littles.“

Guests had the opportunity to tour the new facility and mingle with BBBSNWFL staff and board members. The agency is looking forward to continuing their 30th anniversary celebration and the opportunities to serve more Northwest Florida children.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida has been the area’s leader in one-to-one mentoring for 30 years by serving children ages 6-18. Last year, they served 660 children in Northwest Florida.