January 2021

Hello Friend! Welcome to 2021.

When I was in college, a friend of mine told me that we now get MLK Day off as a holiday. My first thought was that this fantastic news, who doesn’t like a day off? My second thought was what is MLK Day? Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds today. It does illustrate that times do change and what is well known and commonplace now, at one time wasn’t.

While we still have much work to do, we do have a platform to build on and improve upon. Being a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters is a way to change today and tomorrow. What might not seem extra-ordinary to you, may in fact help to shape and change a child in significant ways. Then, in turn, that child is able to change his/her surroundings, actions, etc. Our children aren’t just our future, they are also our present here with us right now. Of course, investing in a child is investing in our future, it is also about securing today for them. For our community. I can’t thank you enough for your investments in children that offers a brighter tomorrow and a better today. I would like to end with two of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s quotes:

"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."

"Everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." 

Jackie Johnson
Executive Director

Annie Robles-Ramirez and Katelynn have been matched in the school-based program for almost a year. They enjoy reading, playing board games, and coloring together.

The two of them were only matched for a short amount of time before they had to start meeting virtually. They kept in touch by Facetiming and meeting over Google Hangouts. Annie has been a great Big to Katelynn and we really look forward to seeing their friendship grow with time!

Simon Thompson and Destin are!

A Big welcome to one of our newest matches: Simon Thompson and Destin! These two hit it off pretty quickly and both enjoy video games and YouTube! As you are considering being a Big, check out our current list of new Matches.

We would also like to congratulate these Matches who are celebrating milestone anniversaries! We ask all Bigs to commit to at least one year of mentorship - that one year of consistency makes a BIG difference in the life of a child.

We love stories that wrap-around, pay it forward, pass it on. Adrian Walker is a terrific example of this. Adrian has been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2009 when he was a Little.

Flash forward to 2016 and Adrian applied to be a High School Big at Tech High School and became Malikai's Big! They've been matched ever since and recently reconnected over Zoom with their program coordinator, Robyn Rieland.

Since Adrian personally knew the value of the program, he has continued the match after he graduated high school and as Malikai switched schools.

Adrian graduated from Saint Cloud Technical and Community College in 2019 and is a personal trainer and manager at Snap Fitness. He also is a Life Coach.

Our vision is that all youth achieve their full potential. Bigs like Adrian stand with Littles like Malikai to make that vision a reality. Potential defended.

Are you ready to defend the potential of a youth? Now is the time - January is National Mentoring Month! Kids have all they need within them, they just need a mentor, an ally, someone to help them bring out their best potential. That someone is you! You have everything you need to be a mentor as well, just because you care about youth in your community.

Youth mentoring right now is needed more than ever. To learn more about becoming a Big, click here or email Tina Johnson with any questions.

This month’s Partner Spotlight goes to Allstate. Toby and Darcie Steinmetz, along with many other Central MN Allstate agencies, gathered in October to Go Big for Kids’ Sake!

Together with the Allstate Foundation Helping Hands Grant, they raised over $15,000 to support kids in our communities. Empowering young people – and those that guide and teach – with the skills and confidence to succeed in school, the workplace and beyond. Their values couldn’t align any better with our own and BBBS is PROUD to partner with them!

We are grateful for all our Community Partners. Check out this list and the next time you are at that business or organization, please thank them for standing with kids!
If you are interested in serving on an event or sponsorship committee or have questions about it contact Emily Steinmetz at 320-258-4515 or Emily@BigDefenders.org
Participants in Toby and Darcie Steinmetz's Allstate Agencies' Go Big for Kid's Sake Bags and Brews Fundraising Event.
Jenna Binsfeld, Peggy Brown, Debbie Clausen, Kevin Fitzpatrick (Treasurer), Patty Funk, Jeff Gannon, Lee Hurd, Courtney Kunkel, Bill Martin-Chaffee, Vince Mohs, Curran Poganski, Marie Primus
(Past President), Luke Riordan, Rick Roehl, Alex Schoephoerster (Vice Pres.), Christie Schulte,
Peter Spaniol (Secretary), Vicky Welty (President)
Barb Anderson, Scott Bement, Mimi Bitzan, Mark Coborn, Joe Francis, Brad Goskowicz, Keith Julson,
Shelly Bauerly Kopel, Gary Marsden, Karla Myres, Steve Sauer, Kurt Scepaniak, Joyce Schlough,
John Schnettler, Rob Schumann, Eric Stalboerger, Perian Stavrum, Mark Traut, Joan Vincent,
Bob Walter, Don Watkins, Sue Wendt, Mike Ziemann