A Grand Rapids social services agency is ending its affiliation with the Big Brothers Big Sisters national organization after more than 50 years of mentoring about 8,000 children.

An agency official says that membership dues to Big Brothers Big Sisters had cost the group about $20,000 a year. She says the organization had also discussed whether the Big Brothers Big Sisters model was best for the organization.

Big Brothers Big Sisters views mentoring as one-on-one and doesn't recognize relationships that do not last a minimum of nine months.

D.A. Blodgett-St. John's started a new program on Oct. 1 called D.A. Blodgett-St. John's Mentoring Services. An agency official says the new program is structured to better fit the needs of the local community.

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