AUGUSTA — A Rockland-based organization will fill the gap in Kennebec and Somerset counties left by this summer’s closing of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kennebec Valley.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine has received official approval from the national organization to expand into central Maine and could restart school-based programs as early as January. They are looking for office space in the region and preparing to hire at least two employees.

They also will reach out to the 74 pairs of at-risk youth and mentors matched by the Kennebec Valley agency. Some have been meeting on their own in the meantime but have not received any official support from Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The Midcoast agency had to lay out a multiyear plan for financial sustainability. CEO Alex Gaeth said Monday that their application was boosted by support from local businesses and the track record of a successful expansion into Penobscot County last year.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kennebec Valley struggled to recruit and retain an executive director, which is a requirement of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The agency was disaffiliated from the national organization in May and closed its Augusta office in early August.

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