March 2020

Hello Friends!

The symbolism of spring is one we can all appreciate. In cultural traditions, all over the world, it is a time of re-birth and new beginnings. Our spirits are lifted by the longer days and warmer temperatures, and we are filled with a sense of springtime optimism. This is also the time of year we become more open to inviting changes – both big and small – into our lives.

Refresh, renewal, re-growth ... all of these spring-inspired “R” words bring another to mind: “Renowned.”   

Big Brothers Big Sisters is the oldest, largest, and most effective youth mentoring organization in the country. Our mentoring programs have proven positive academic, social-emotional and behavior outcomes for youth, and are linked to long-term outcomes such as education success, high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency, and college and career readiness.

Our purpose is to provide youth facing adversity with the Relationships , experiences, guidance, and support they need to help them build character, broaden their horizons, and to develop into healthy, productive adults that contribute to their communities. We aim to create Resiliency in youth through mentoring because we know that positive mentors help kids over come their obstacles and challenges and lead them on a path towards a brighter future.

Because we strive for such a high level of compatibility, the length of our match relationships exceeds the national average. For school/site-based matches it is 13 months and the average match length of our community-based matches is 27 months.

The entire design of Big Brothers Big Sisters program is the necessity on the kindness and generosity of others. On behalf of our steadfast Board, our dedicated team, our amazing volunteers, and our incredible kids ... THANK YOU!!  Whether you support us financially or by sharing your time- YOU " R" defending the potential of local kids. YOU " R" the difference.   

Jackie Johnson
Executive Director

Say hello to Marilyn Bladwin and Jozie! They are soon approaching their 1 year mark of friendship!

The two ladies get together weekly at school and enjoy a variety of activities – everything from talking about Minecraft to making bracelets! Their time is always filled with chatter and lots of smiles! Over the past year, Jozie has really come out of her shell and gained confidence in herself, which has been so great to see!

We are excited to see this friendship continue to grow!  

On Tuesday February 4, Muskies Inc. joined us at our office to help some of our Littles and Bigs paint fishing lures! Everyone had a fun time getting creative!

Thank you to Muskies, Inc. for supporting with this activity! We are so grateful for their partnership.

Watch for some of these on the Silent Auction at Our Big Night in Oz on April 17!

Chuck and Mohamed are!

A Big welcome to our newest Bigs on Campus match: Chuck and Mohamed! These two are looking forward to playing some basketball and trying out some fun and new activities on campus! 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.

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.
This past holiday season, the Starbucks Foundation launched a giving campaign that mirrored their renewed commitment to creating a culture of warmth where customers can gather and connect. The foundation matched individual donations to eight global nonprofit partners, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America was chosen as one of those partners.

In honor of this new national partnership, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota connected with local Starbucks locations and hosted recruitment activities at both the St. Cloud & Waite Park cafes. The coffee retailer even placed Big Brothers Big Sisters stickers on 1,000 of their cups to raise awareness of the need for mentors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Community Engagement Manger, Shelby Hadley states, “We are impressed by Starbucks, the support from the Store Manager, Nina Nelson, and their team of baristas. Their continued partnership, on both a national and local level, is helping us to share our mission, recruit new mentors, and defend the potential of kids in our community.”       

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota was notified earlier this week that they are the recipient of the 2019 Starbucks Holiday “Give Together” Campaign incentive, which will provide the mentoring agency with a $2,000 award.  

Eve Hemby, Corporate Partnerships Manager of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, states that the Central MN mentoring agency’s initiative in cultivating a partnership with Starbucks cafes in their community was “not only unique and thoughtful, but effective in supporting our goal to steward local markets through in-store connection.”
The What Would Bri Do Memorial Scholarship is available for Littles or High School Bigs. Learn more on our website.
Scholarships up to $5,000 are available for current/former Littles and High School Bigs working towards an apprenticeship, certificate, or associate's degree. See our website for more details and to apply!
You can purchase your raffle tickets at our office or at these locations! Get yours now before they sell out! Winner must be 21+ and need not be present to win.

This month’s Partner Spotlight goes to Traut Companies . We are proud to partner with local businesses in many ways. While sponsorship often comes to mind (which they are), volunteering as a Big is at the heart of our mission.

Over the years, both Mark Traut, President, and Jim Gruenke, Water Treatment Manager, have served as Bigs. Thank you to both business leaders for defending the potential of youth in Central MN and being an example to others about the value of mentorship!

Mark Traut
Jim Gruenke