May 2020

Hello Friends!

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” We all know this scene from the iconic movie, The Wizard of Oz . Am I the only one muttering that from time to time? Our day-to-day lives have significantly changed. Calendars are no longer filled. Anticipated events are postponed, cancelled, or being held in a very different way. Our routines have come to a major halt and we no longer have the privilege to move about how we once did. How we hope to again.

What about our kids? We know that our kids are more disproportionately affected by the pandemic than their peers. Because of this: they lack confidence, learning is more difficult, anxiety is on the rise, and we are seeing an elevated sense of hopelessness for the future. We, along with our volunteers, are on the front-lines. Our team members and volunteer Bigs serve as a critical hub by providing support, information, and resources for our Littles and their families. For some, our staff and our Bigs are the only people the Little and/or their parent will talk with. Our program is an essential service we must continue to provide. There is no more important time than right now to stand with our kids. Thank you for making this possible. Thank you for investing in helping kids.

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure. All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”
- The Wizard of Oz

Jackie Johnson
Executive Director

HS Big Brother of the Year – Adam Funk

Adam Funk has been matched with his Little Brother Austin for a year and a half. Together they enjoy playing board games, throwing the football around, playing floor hockey, and shooting hoops. Adam and Austin share a love for football and have really bonded over that shared interest. Austin has expressed multiple times that he appreciates how much him and Adam have similar interests. Over the course of their match, Austin has shown improvements in his self-esteem and social skills. Adam continues to be an incredible mentor to Austin and is very deserving of his awards!
HS Big Sister of the Year – Bailey GapinskI

Bailey Gapinski and Amanda have formed a close sisterly-like bond over the course of their match, which began in March of 2017. The two love to talk, joke around, and do a variety of activities together. Both Bailey and Amanda have benefited from the friendship they have formed. Because of her consistency, dedication and leadership skills, Bailey was the perfect recipient for Central MN High School Big Sister of the year, and the MN State High School Big Sister of the year!

The Rowley Family and Elijah are!

A Big welcome to one of our newest family matches: Shaun, Farrah, Marshall, and Hudson Rowley and Elijah!  They've enjoyed biking, bowling, and mini golf. 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 have rescheduled the Raffle Drawing due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our new raffle drawing date is Friday, June 19, 2020 at 8:30 pm. Raffle tickets are $10 each or a book of ten for $100. You can purchase tickets by e-mailing Jackie or call her at 320-258-4510. So, hang on to your tickets, they are still good and buy more to increase your odds of winning! Our kids still need us, this is how we can help! 

This month’s Partner Spotlight goes to ALL the amazing sponsors that were supporting “Our Big Night in Oz” Gala fundraising event . Thank you to the Defender Sponsors: Marco, Vince & Lori Mohs, and Anderson Trucking.

Of course, the difficult decision was made to cancel the event. However you will still see many of them proudly featured during our online auction coming up June 12-19, both on our online auction site and in our program booklet.

Our sponsors make up the heart and soul of our events and our mission. But they also make up the heart and soul of our communities! Check out this list of sponsors and support the businesses that have supported BBBS and so many area nonprofits! You can order online, do curbside pickup, pre-book an adventure, like their social media and share it.

If you are a sponsor and have questions email Emily Steinmetz or call her at 320-258-4515.
Erin Bitzan, Peggy Brown, Debbie Clausen, Ann Cofell, Kevin Fitzpatrick (Treasurer), Patty Funk,
Jeff Gannon, Lee Hurd, Andy Knoblauch, Courtney Kunkel, Holly Lee, Bill Martin-Chaffee,
Vince Mohs, Marie Primus (Past President), Luke Riordan, Rick Roehl, Alex Schoephoerster (Vice Pres.), Peter Spaniol (Secretary), Joan Vincent, 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, Bob Walter,
Don Watkins, Sue Wendt, Mike Ziemann