January 2020

Hello Friends!

Consider the following:
  • To feel accepted or a sense of belonging
  • For a sense of identity
  • For respect
  • Because siblings and family are members
  • For status amongst peers and others
  • Because they feel like it’s the ‘norm’
  • For friends and acceptance
  • For financial gain and other rewards
  • For protection from others; gangs, groups or peers
  • As a result of being identified and recruited
Could we all agree that our kids need and seek out belonging to a group for the reasons listed above? They all seem very reasonable and if we think back to our youth, or even to this morning, striving for these same qualities really does resonate with each of us.

Could we all agree that providing a positive mentor in a child’s life can help them experience or develop these qualities ... the sense of belonging, increased self-worth, feeling respected and valued, etc.? Having a mentor to journey with a child and recognize their uniqueness, gifts, and talents is the difference that our kids need!

The list above represents the reasons why children and young people join gangs. I got the list from the Childnet International website that addresses this very serious issue. There isn’t a secret formula to help kids grow up to be positive, contributing adults in our communities. You have what a child needs. It’s standing with them. Believing in them. Encouraging them. Being present. Being predictable.

Since 2002, January has been designated Mentor Month. Locally, we just launched a “30 Mentors in 30 Days” campaign. You know what that means, right? 30 more kids get someone that will help them believe in themselves. Please join us and be there for a kid, like someone was there for you.

Jackie Johnson
Executive Director

Big For A Day is a fun opportunity for companies, classes and other organizations to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota. Big For A Day is exactly what it sounds like! Adult volunteers from your company, class and/or organization get to be a Big for a day. This is a great way to learn more about mentoring and also a great way to help the kids in your community.

We have over 100 kids on our waiting list. These children don’t get the opportunities to experience the mentoring relationship that they desire. By giving a few hours of your time, you can provide a positive experience for these kids and for yourself. Do you and a group of co-workers/classmates/friends have an idea for an art project, game day, athletic event or any other activity? Take the next step and email Shelby Hadley , Community Engagement Manager or call 320.258.4534.

We would like to thank our local Starbucks for partnering with us to help raise awareness of the need for mentors. Over 1,000 cups were stickered with our logo, 15 potential Bigs stepped forward and four Starbucks employees want to get more involved!

Both the St. Cloud & Waite Park stores generously hosted us and allowed us to have a table with information at their locations.

We are so grateful for their support in helping us share our mission of defending the potential of youth.   

Meet Erica Mortenson and Harlow! These two have been matched for just over 2 years. They enjoy doing a wide variety of activities together and often have fun doing bonfires, spending time with animals, bowling and eating out. 

Harlow has a love of animals and when matched was excited to find out that Erica is a vet! Erica is a consistent presence in Harlow’s life and offers guidance in what Harlow might expect if she goes to school as a vet, supports her by attending Harlow’s activities, and is just an all-around fun person for Harlow to spend time with! 

We look forward to Erica and Harlow spending many more years together.

Tayler and Candace are!

A Big welcome to our newest community-based match: Taylor & Candace! These two are looking forward to doing crafts and archery together! 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.

Are you ready to defend the potential of a kid? They have all they need within them, they just need a mentor, an ally, to help them bring out their best. That sounds like you! You have everything you need to be a mentor as well, just because you care about kids.

Take the next step and email Shelby Hadley , Community Engagement Manager or call her at 320.258.4534. She will help you with the next steps or click here to sign up for an Info Session today!

This month’s Partner Spotlight goes to Kohl's. Through the Kohl’s Volunteer Program, associates donate their personal time to make a difference for the Littles in our program through various volunteer projects. In support of their associate’s volunteerism, Kohl’s donates a $500 volunteer reward for each project completed for our agency. They are a joy to work with, even when they are cleaning in the basement!

To top it off, Kohl’s associates nominated BBBS of Central MN for a $10,000 grant through Kohl’s National Giving Program. And ... we won! Along with 300 other nonprofits nationwide. Kohl’s truly cares, thank you for all you do for kids in our community!