November 2019

Hello Friends!

Have you reviewed the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey ? This voluntary, anonymous survey is given to Minnesota’s 5th, 8th, 9th, and 11th grade students (AKA “our kids”) every three years.

  • The new data shows that 23%, more of our kids than ever, report having long-term mental health, behavioral or emotional problems. This number is up from 18% (2016).
  • 11th grade girls who reported missing a full or partial day of school in the last 30 days, 24% reported that it was because they felt very sad, hopeless, anxious, stressed or angry.
  • 65% of our kids reported excellent or very good health. This down from 69% (2016); however, teens are engaging in fewer risky behaviors. Student smoking rates have fallen to an all-time low. Alcohol use, sexual activity and marijuana use have also fallen. Students are also reporting higher rates of having long-term mental health, or emotional problems.
  • 26% of our kids indicate that they don’t have a caring relationship in at least three of the five groups (parents; other adult relatives; friends; teachers or other adults at school; other adults in the community), up from 24% (2016).

The report goes on to stress what we already know: “Research tells us sleep, exercise,
nutrition, mindfulness, a safe, nurturing environment, and caring adults can help
youth thrive, avoid risky behaviors like vaping, and recover from toxic stress,” said
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “We must focus on helping Minnesota’s
kids in and outside of schools by strengthening the ability of families and communities
to give our children the connections, supports, stable environments, and
opportunities they need for a sense of well-being about their lives and

Caring adults ... hmmm ... where have you heard that before? Here are some of our stats from our kids that are in direct correlation with what the latest research says:
  • 92% of our Littles improve their self-confidence because of their Big
  • 87% of our Littles have shown improvement in their academic performance
  • 82% of our Littles have improved their attitude towards risky behaviors

Thank you for investing in this agency and program. Our results are proven and they correlate with the state's most recent research, this is because of your generosity.

Jackie Johnson
Executive Director
The Federated Challenge, headed by Federated Insurance, has a long-standing relationship with Big Brothers Big Sisters. They have demonstrated their deep commitment and corporate social responsibility by partnering with us in carrying out our mission of creating and supporting one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

The Federated Challenge, founded in 2004, is an annual two-day fund-raising event hosted by Federated Insurance, a commercial insurance company headquartered in Owatonna, Minnesota. Now in its fifteenth year, this event has raised nearly $38 million for youth mentoring programs. The event’s expenses are covered by Federated Insurance. One hundred percent of the money raised each year is donated to the three Minnesota Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

“The Federated Challenge continues to garner an exceptional amount of funds, which directly supports young people facing adversity,” Federated Challenge Co-Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Federated Insurance Jeff Fetters said. “Numerous children have a brighter future thanks to the leadership and generosity of our corporate sponsors. We are proud to join these valued organizations in support of youth mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

On the morning of October 22, Julie Rethemeier, Vice President, Director of Public Affairs and Advertising for Federated Insurance, presented Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota with a check for $425,000. The support came in the form of two investments; $400,000 to support the general operations of the mentoring program and $25,000 to be used for participant scholarships.
The Federated Challenge Scholarship program provides up to $5,000 per year to qualified Littles and high school-aged Bigs enrolled in a non-four-year program at a trade or technical school or community college that focuses on career-ready skills training. This past spring, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota awarded 11 youth with a total of $39,500 in scholarships.

Julie Rethemeier shared a powerful visual to express the urgency and importance of reaching children in need. She described a recent community occurrence in which a young boy, playing with his dog, went missing and, through the power of community, was located in a cornfield. She stated that there are still youth “lost in their circumstances” that need our help to find their way, to ignite their potential.

“We cannot thank Jeff and Marty Fetters, Co-Chairs of the Federated Challenge, Federated Insurance, and all those who support the event, enough. We are profoundly grateful to be able to carry out the passion of our donors and the efforts of our volunteers, which are invested in the hopes and dreams of our Littles and their families. The trust of our partners and participants is what makes Big Brothers Big Sisters the number one mentoring agency in the country. They are partners in believing that a caring adult shifts the life of a child and changes the trajectory of future generations.” noted Jackie Johnson, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota.
We hosted our annual fall fundraiser, Bowl For Kids’ Sake, throughout the month of October at Great River Bowl in Sartell, McPete’s Sports Bar & Lanes in Big Lake and at Atwood Underground at SCSU. This year's event raised nearly $40,000, surpassing our goal of $37,500 with 289 bowlers and 65 teams, the most in several years.

Much of the growth is attributed to a new presenting sponsor of the event, Allstate, headed up by agency owners, Toby and Darcie Steinmetz, which helped to secure $12,500+ for kids. We are also grateful to all of our sponsors: Capital One, Coborn's, Clearwater Lions, D.J. Bitzan Jewelers, DAYTA, Leighton Broadcasting, Northland Capital Financial, St. Cloud Area Sertoma Club, Central McGowan, North Risk Partners, Lee & Eric Hurd, the BBBSCM Staff, Microbiologics, Joyce & Tony Tillemans Family Fund, Cinema Entertainment Corp, Clear Lake Lions Club, Horizon Roofing, St. Cloud Subaru, Federated Insurance, Bernick's, Klarbrunn, Traut Wells and the Lake Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. in Minnesota.

All funds raised from this event supports the kids in our community by pairing them with positive, carefully screened mentors. Join us next year!

Recently Jackie Johnson and Brenda Jacobson received a $3,900 BIG check from Crafts Direct. Each week, Crafts Direct highlights a local charity. They offer a 40% off any one item coupon every day with a $1.00 donation to charity. The donations are collected and then given to the current charity. If customers prefer, they may choose any one of the selected charities for the year instead by telling the cashier at checkout.
You may also choose to donate more than $1.00 if desired.

100% of all donations are given to the selected charity, (along with an additional donation from Crafts Direct) at the end of the charity's selected time. What a win-win! 
Thanks, Crafts Direct, and you, for standing with kids!

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.

Beth Mann and Nimo have been matched in the Dr. Potter Bigs on Campus Program for one year. They love to stay busy with lots of games and activities like bowling, ping pong, and cards. They also end each meeting with a special treat from Caribou or Starbucks!

Nimo looks forward to her time with Beth and has a smile that lights up the room whenever they are together! Beth has been a great support for Nimo and has pushed her to believe in herself and to become more comfortable around others.

This year they are looking forward to expanding their interests and trying even more new things. We are so excited to see where their friendship will take them this year! 

Grant and Elmer are!

A Big welcome to our newest community-based match: Grant Lee and Elmer! These two plan to play some board games, go skiing and check out some community events.  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 Allstate . They have helped our agency grow in some BIG ways. With a 5-county service area, we rely heavily on the support of our agency partners located throughout central MN.

At this year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake event in Big Lake, MN Allstate generated much needed awareness for the program in Sherburne county. Helping the event grow from 4 lanes to 14 in only one year! Not only that, but they helped to secure $12,500+ for kids in Big Lake and surrounding areas.

 Toby and Darcie Steinmetz, Allstate Insurance Agents , coordinated Allstate’s involvement in the fundraising event. Toby Steinmetz states, “Being involved in our communities and giving back is something that we are both very passionate about. As our involvement has grown with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota, we have been amazed at the passion and dedication they have towards supporting kids in our region.” We ARE in good hands with Allstate!