July 2019

Highways, Roads, Paths ... Oh My

“Minnesota has two seasons, winter and road construction.” I’m sure everyone has heard this joke and there is some real truth to it which is why we laugh and shake our head. We at Big Brothers Big Sisters are in year-round road-building. Think of it in this analogy that recently came across my desk from Seth Godin’s blog:

“If you want to make a long-term impact, build the roads. Stewart Brand points out that if
you compare two maps of downtown Boston–from 1860 and 1960, for example–virtually
every single building has been replaced. Gone. But the roads? They haven’t changed a
bit. The curbs and boundaries and connections are largely as they were. When creating
an organization, a technology or any kind of culture, the roads are worth far more than
the buildings.”

That same analogy makes sense as we stand with kids and help them figure out their
challenges and opportunities. Our Bigs help them explore different avenues towards
their goals and adulthood. We provide excellent workshops and training on careers and
education. We’re in the business of road-building if you will, as they navigate through
their highly-impressionable years. Thank you for grabbing a shovel and donning the
hard hat as we help ignite a child’s potential that lives on beyond us.

I would like to tip my hard-hat to a few special people who helped us bring home the second-place win for kids at the Women’s Fund of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation's Dancing With Our Stars event. Thank you to the committee who put this event on and raised an amazing $340,000 to help women and girls in our community. Thank you to our amazing dancers, Chris Owen and Rachel Trout, whose dance score pushed us up to second place - literally a $5,000 dance! Thank you to board member, Kevin Fitzpatrick, who shared his passion for BBBS with Chris when Chris was considering charities to dance for. Thank you to all of the donors who came through for us, raising $43,302.33 for our kids! And a very special and heart-felt thank you to Barb Anderson and Dave Chandler whose generosity and leadership in providing a $15,000 challenge match gift inspired amazing generosity in others. You are all road-builders- thank you for standing with kids.  

Jackie Johnson
Executive Director
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota celebrated its 50 th year with about 10,000 of our closest friends at Summertime by George on July 10. In honor of this special milestone, U.S. Bank graciously shared their sponsored evening of Summertime by George with us and it was a night to remember!
Summertime by George is a free concert and festival put on by the Rotary Club of St. Cloud at Lake George featuring live music from local and regional bands, local vendors, artisans, and a kid’s zone for the entire family to enjoy.
Our night featured Collective Unconscious and the Fabulous Armadillos who performed their Eagles Tribute, Taking it to the Limit . We were so excited to see the band rocking our new branded t-shirts and they gave us a great shout-out. The evening was kicked off with Brooke Maruska, a former High School Big in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, who did a fabulous job singing the national anthem. We also had a recruitment table and a kids' craft at Little Georgetown.  

Thanks to all who came to back patio and enjoyed the wonderful picnic provided by Coborn's and Klarbrunn/Bernick's! Here's to another 50 years!

Recently the motocross community, led by Jake Loberg's family, came together to celebrate Mike Moores' legacy with the 3rd Annual Mike Moores Memorial Motocross Race at Berm Benders Raceway in Brook Park, Mn. Together, they raised $11,323 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mn at the event, which also included silent and live auctions and a taco dinner.

Mike was a board member and a Big and died unexpectedly 3 years ago. He was also a successful businessman and a world-class motorcycle road racer; five-time local champion at Brainerd International Raceway and two-time national champion. He started on a dirt bike when he was 12 years old.

Jake met Mike at the raceway when he was around 8 years old, Jake thought Mike was a pretty cool guy and Mike saw the potential in Jake. Jake was not a Little in our program, but Mike took a special interest and helped Jake develop into a world-class racer as well. Mike believed in the power of mentorship and lived his values as a great board member and Big and in helping kids like Jake reach their full potential.

Jake, pictured with Jackie Johnson, recently presented Big Brothers Big Sisters with the proceeds and hopes to continue this great event to honor Mike. Thanks to everyone involved in the Mike Moores Memorial Race and we look forward to many years honoring Mike's legacy!

Bowl for Kids' Sake is a fun and easy way to positively impact a child's life. Just follow the simple steps below:

  1. Start a team. Teams are formed with five or six members. Consider creating a team with family, friends, organization members, or co-workers.
  2. Start securing donations. The minimum to raise is $50 per bowler, but most bowlers raise about $100, and some raise over $1,000! What impact do you want to have?
  3. The best part is that all of the event expenses are underwritten by our sponsors. That means 100% of the money raised by bowlers goes directly towards supporting children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters in our community
  4. Start bowling. After you have secured your donations, it's time to have fun! You'll receive free bowling (shoe and ball rental included!) and chances to win door prizes! 

So what are you waiting for? Start your team today! Partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters through Bowl for Kids' Sake makes a positive, long-lasting impact on children in your community. Our mentoring works. It works to help broaden children's perspectives and help them learn how to make good choices. It starts a child on the path to fulfilling their potential and succeeding in school and life. Sign up today and save these dates:

Sunday, October 13 at 12:00 pm
Friday, October 4 at 1:00 pm & Saturday, October 5 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, October 27 at 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm

Big Brothers Big Sisters will be taking over the taps at Third Street Brewhouse on Friday, August 16. All net proceeds from beer sales will be donated to BBBS. Join us from 4-9 pm and raise a glass and some funds to support kids!
If you'd like to help us that evening, please email Shelby Hadley, Community Engagement Manager . We are looking for about 8 volunteers to help serve beer. If not, just bring some friends, kick back and enjoy some great music and food in Cold Spring at the Third Street Brewhouse.

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 contact Shelby Hadley, Community Engagement Manager at Shelby@BigDefenders.org or 320.258.4534. She will help you with the next steps or click here to sign up for an Info Session today!
Central Minnesota & Minnesota State High School Big Brother of the Year: Alex Foss

Alex and his Little Brother, Ashton, have been matched for almost three years. The two enjoy playing sports together and simply catching up and talking each week. Alex has been a great support to Ashton academically, consistently checking in and providing encouragement. Alex has also helped guide Ashton into making good decisions and developing positive friendships with his peers. Alex is involved in his school’s National Honor Society, where he participates in planning Breakfast with Santa, a fundraiser that donates its proceeds to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Alex has also participated in multiple BBBS Basketball Nights at his school, which invite Littles in the program to attend the game for free and participate in warm-ups and the national anthem.

Central Minnesota & Minnesota State High School Big Sister of the Year: Jessica Lemke

Jessica (Jes) and her Little Sister Adrianna have been matched for over two years. They meet once a week before school and enjoy a wide variety of activities. Some of their favorites include practicing gymnastics, playing Mancala, and doing arts & crafts.
Jes has proven to be reliable, consistent, and intentional with her time with Adrianna. During their time together, Jes has helped Adrianna gain confidence, learn to express her feelings, and strengthen her relationships with her peers. Amidst having several other commitments through high school, Jes has kept BBBS and meeting with Adrianna a priority. Jes is a great example of a young woman who is willing to stand up and help defend the potential of youth in our community.
Big Couple Jeremy & Erin Forsell and Little Brother Demarcus are! A Big welcome to our newest Match.

Erin, Jeremy and Demarcus all enjoy sports and being active, and a fishing trip is in the near future! You can go fishing with a kid, too! 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.

This month’s Partner Spotlight is
U.S. Bank. They “believe all people deserve the opportunity to dream, believe and achieve” and we at BBBS couldn’t agree more! Their values reflect our own and it’s in this spirit that U.S. Bank partners with us to defend the potential of youth. We are grateful that they invited us to co-sponsor a very special Summertime by George on July 10. Please join us in thanking Mike Markman and the team at U.S. Bank, including our Board Secretary, Peter Spaniol, for their unwavering support of youth in our communities!