Louie's Kids program revamped after Reville case

Run Buddy Program, Louie's Kids (WCIV)

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Louis "Skip" Reville case this fall caused a local organization to think twice about the set-up for one of their youth programs.

Louie's Kids is an organization with a goal to help fight childhood obesity. In 2010, they created a program called Run Buddies.

"Initially, when it was created, it was to pair adults and children together one-on-one where they would meet together either at the home of the child and go to a park somewhere or run in the neighborhood," said Ashley Gunnin, executive director of Louie's Kids.

But with child molestation in the headlines, the program started to see fewer participants.

"We turned it into clinics so that they are now meeting together at a school, 10 to 12 kids at a time, 4 or 5 adults with the coach with them," said Gunnin. "So, we just completely revamped the program to make it work for everyone."

And the revised program, which started in January, gave the parents the assurance they needed.

"They were actually willing to let their children go and be there because most of them are either being brought by the parent, grandparent, or a friend or there are at school already," Gunnin said. "So they are in a safe environment."

Another benefit to the change is that instead of just getting motivation from one person, they can now get it from their peers and numerous volunteers. And just like before, all volunteers must go through a background check.

"We still are doing the same background check, and it's actually more extensive than if you just went to get a quick five dollar SLED check. It's a company out of Texas, and they do the last four or five places that people have lived It's a little bit more money than a normal one would be," Gunnin said.

The changes have proved to be successful, and they are hoping to expand the run clinics to other parts of the Lowcountry in the future.

ABC News 4 also reached out to Big Brothers Big Sisters to see if their policies had changed. Below is their entire statement.

"Big Brothers Big Sisters makes child safety our priority. We have zero tolerance for abuse or exploitation of any kind. Big Brothers Big Sisters has designed our child protection systems in collaboration with experts including the Centers for Disease Control, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Nonprofit Risk-Management Center.

Our volunteers and staff undergo thorough screening and background checks. Big Brothers Big Sisters' professional mentoring support staff have ongoing and regular communication with volunteers, mentees and their families and are trained to immediately make law enforcement and child protective services authorities aware of any reports of abuse or exploitation.

We remain committed to improving children's odds for overcoming adversity, succeeding in school, breaking negative cycles and having higher self-esteem and aspirations. Safety and security are the foundation of the service we provide.

The integrity of our program is extremely important and to achieve the highest quality standards possible, we work to constantly review and strengthen our screening and background check systems as new best practices in the industry emerge."

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