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JUNEAU -- After five years as director of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Tony Newman is stepping down to take a state job.
Newman will begin working with the Division of Juvenile Justice, coordinating its social service programs, at the end of September.
"I feel very mixed about leaving Big Brothers Big Sisters, but I've accomplished everything I set out to do there and it's time for someone else to take over," Newman said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nonprofit group that matches children with adult mentors. Under Newman, the local organization recovered from financial troubles, started a school-based mentoring program and expanded to Sitka. This year the Juneau program won the Annie E. Casey Award from the national Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
"I figure, go out on top rather than while we're on a downhill slope," Newman said.
The state job will also allow Newman more time with his own two children, ages 4 years and 5 months, he said.
"It's really a better fit for my family. The Big Brothers Big Sisters work is very intense,"Newman said. "I need to be able to devote less attention to that and more attention to my own kids."
Newman said he will continue to support Big Brothers Big Sisters in other ways. "To my mind it's just the greatest youth program there is," Newman said. "I just don't know of any other program that gets right to the heart of what kids need ... and give them love."