March 2019

Hello Friends,

As I write this we are in the middle of what seems like a year of winter. Record snow and cold temperatures across our state have caused us all to say a collective,
“UF DAH.” However, at our agency we are focused on SPRING, planning our Magic Moments Gala, “50 Years of Big Magic.”

As our Gala theme states, we’ve been in the business of changing kids’ lives for the better, forever, for 50 years. At the Gala, we’ll be sharing just a few of the 1000's of stories we have. Kelly Radi, who is a part of a Big Family, is our emcee and you’ll be hearing her family’s story of extending their family circle to include Dakota and her family. An unfortunate critical health situation that led to recovery and healing in a way that could not have been predicted.

You’ll also learn about Vince Mohs, this year’s awardee of the  BriAnna Kruzel Growing Up Big Award . This award is in memory of BriAnna Kruzel, former Little and Big Sister, who passed away unexpectedly when she was just 18. The award is given to a deserving participant, either a former Little or High School Big, who demonstrates service to the community, strong character, and integrity. Vince’s father was tragically killed when he was away for business when Vince was almost five years old. Mary, Vince’s very wise mother, moved her family back to Minnesota to be close to family. Mary later enrolled Vince in our program and he was matched with Gary Marsden, co-founder of Marco.

Vince rejoined our board in 2013 and has been an incredible help to the overall agency as well as a friend and help to me in my role. While we will always grieve the loss of BriAnna, we hope that by giving an award that carries her core values, we can celebrate both her and the recipients. 

Come join us for the next 50, the best is yet to come!

Jackie Johnson
Executive Director
We know we have incredible Bigs, but we are extra proud of this year's local Bigs of the Year who have gone on to be Minnesota's Bigs of Year! Congrats to:

Minnesota Big Brother of the Year:
Joe Maiers
Minnesota H.S. Big Sister of the Year:
Jessica Lemke
Minnesota H.S. Big Brother of the Year:
Alex Foss
Minnesota Big Family of the Year:
The Carlsons

Joe Maiers will now go on to be nominated for the National Big Brother of the Year Award. Good luck, Joe!

You can hear their stories and all of our awardees at our Gala on March 29 and at our Big Celebration on Thursday, April 11. All are welcome! Click here to RSVP.
Minnesota Big Family of the Year, The Carlsons, with LIttle Sister, Amelia.
We are launching our 50th Anniversary in a BIG way this month! Thanks to our Agency Partner, Coborn's , for leading efforts with Bernick's , Klarbrunn , and US Bank . Look out for our 50th Anniversary branding on 640,000 grocery bags in the area! TAG A BAG and post a picture of you and our bag on Facebook or Instagram with #BBBS50 by May 31 , and you'll be entered to win a Big Brothers Big Sisters t-shirt.

We will also be at Cash Wise and Coborn's stores on March 16 and March 23 to sign up potential Bigs for Info Sessions and sampling delicious Klarbrunn sparking water! Come by and say hi! If you know anyone who has been thinking about becoming a Big, now's the time. Anyone who attends an Info Session between now and May 31 and mentions Klarbrunn Cares will be entered into a drawing for a $250 Coborn's gift card!

  • Saturday, March 16 from 10am-12pm at Coborn’s Sartell on 707 1st Avenue N.
  • Saturday, March 16 from 1-3pm at Coborn’s Sauk Rapids
  • Saturday, March 23 from 10am-12pm at Cash Wise Waite Park
  • Saturday, March 23 from 1-3pm at Coborn’s Cooper Ave, St. Cloud
We need you to help us create a waiting list of Bigs! Come and see what all of the buzz is about at an upcoming Info Session.
At Big Brothers Big Sisters, our vision is clear- we want a waiting list of Bigs! Imagine if a Little could walk into our office and just have to wait for the matching process to be complete, versus waiting months for a mentor to be recruited first. That's why we hold our annual Magic Moments Gala, Bowl for Kids' Sake, and reach out to individuals, companies and foundations who want to defend the potential of kids. We are 100% supported by the community- there is no cost or fundraising requirements for our Littles or Bigs so they can focus on their friendship. But it does cost about $1,500 a year, per Match, to recruit and professionally support the Match.

At this year's Gala, we will not only be asking our guests for their financial support, but also to strongly consider becoming a Big. Get ready to raise your paddle to help our vision become a reality!

There is still time to be recognized as a community leader with your sponsorship of the Magic Moments Gala, please email Emily Steinmetz or call her at 320-258-4515. Thank you to the following 50 Years of Big Magic Gala Sponsors:

Defender - $7,500-10,000
Anderson Trucking Service
Leighton Broadcasting
Vince & Lori Mohs

Protector - $6,000
Custom Catering by Short Stop
Preferred Credit, Inc.
SC Times/LocaliQ
Wolters Kluwer

Hero - $3,000
AirMaxx Trampoline Park
Auto Parts Headquarters
Bursch Travel
D.J. Bitzan
Granite Equity Partners
Mahowald Insurance
SCR - St. Cloud Refrigeration
Thrivent Financial - Debbie Clausen
WWBD - What Would Bri Do

Guardian - $1,750
Bremer Bank
C4 Welding
Central McGowan
Crafts Direct
Darkhouse Anglers
Dubow Textile
LB Carlso n (Formerly Carlson Advisors, LLP)
Bill & Chip Martin-Chaffee
Microbiolo gics
Miller Auto & Marine
Miller, Welle, Heiser
Premier Real Estate
KELLY RADI, motivational speaker & award-winning author
Royal Tire
Sand Companies
Schlenner, Wenner & Co.
Sentry Bank
U.S. Bank
Viking Coke
Write Advantage
We are excited to announce that Chris Owen, Deerwood Bank, will be dancing with pro, Rachel Trout, to raise funds to support Big and Little Sisters at the Women's Fund of Central Minnesota Community Foundation's Dancing With Our Stars event on June 17, 2019!

They will competing against five other charities with the top pair winning another $15,000 for their charity. 60% of the judging depends on the amount fund raised and 40% on their dance. Rachel says that Chris is a wonderful dancer- now we just need your support to take home the big prize! Online voting with your dollars opens soon- click on this link after March 15 .

The pair will also do a sneak peek with a special dance at the Magic Moments Gala! Thank you to Chris and Rachel for being Our Stars!
by Robyn Rieland,
Program Coordinator

Meet Big Sister McKenna Welk and Little Sister Haylee; the two have been matched for over two years in our school based program! They love to play games, do crafts, and look at books in the library. McKenna has offered a lot of great guidance to Haylee in their time together, and Haylee looks forward to seeing her Big Sister each and every week! Along with seeing each other once a week at school, they have also taken part in several BBBS activities; like our Holiday Craft Night, Twins game, and Airmaxx! Together this match has developed into great friends and almost like real life sisters; we are so excited to continue to watch them grow together! 

Big Brother Duane Bryngelson & Little Brother Markese are!  Check out our current list of new Matches.

Duane and Markese are are excited to go out to eat, bowl, play games, and try new activities!   Markese had been waiting since October 2015- so it's exciting to get him Matched with an awesome mentor like Duane! Duane works for Park Industries who created a big metal B for our lobby and he was inspired to ask about being a Big.

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 highlighted Match Discount Partner is AirMaxx Trampoline Park. Not only is AirMaxx a Gala sponsor, they also offer a year-round discounted rate for Bigs and Littles! AND on May 14 they are hosting a two-hour jump and pizza party for 100 of our Littles and Bigs- what a great community partner!

We are grateful for all of our Match Discount Partners. Check out this list and the next time you're at that business, please thank them for standing with kids!