November 2020


Hello Friend-

Connections … have you ever really thought about the different contexts in which we use that word? We use it when we are talking about people, technology, problem-solving, crime, flights, politics, etc. I’ve been thinking a lot about connections and how important they are in our lives.

Gary Marsden, one of my mentors, recommended that I read Richard Leider’s book, The Power of Purpose. Gary was right. This book has many insights and challenges and now I highly recommend it! Leider states, “Community connection is vital for survival. The needs to “grow” and to “give” are essential elements to our evolutionary survival strategy (along with intelligence and choice). Our early ancestors learned the wisdom, in survival terms, of personal growth, and of giving today because you might need help tomorrow.” Basically, and literally, connections are vital to our very existence. When we feel connected …

  • Healing happens
  • Learning is easier
  • Anxiety and depression are lowered
  • Self-esteem is elevated
  • Confidence is increased
  • Immunity is improved

Have you ever thought that Big Brothers Big Sisters is a business of “connections”? And because “connections” is our product and nothing has ever interfered with connecting like Covid, we have been working creatively and tirelessly to keep our kids connected. We have worked with the school districts to figure out how to continue to keep our Littles connected with their Bigs and our program. We are able to move a volunteer from inquiry to their match with their Little virtually. You don’t even need to leave your home to be connected with your Little. For just one to two hours a month, you can be a Big.

By neglecting our need to connect, we put our health at risk. By neglecting our kids’ need to connect, we are putting our community at risk. During these trying days, challenge yourself to connect. Choose to be a part of the solution. Reach out to that someone who has had an impact on your life, thank them for being a connection for you. Schedule a call with someone that you miss. Donate to a cause that you believe in. Find your purpose. Improve your life. Have confidence that your efforts and generosity today will live on tomorrow. Have the satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference in the life of a child. Join us at BBBS, contact Tina@BigDefenders.org and ask her about becoming a Big. Connections.


Jackie Johnson
Executive Director

P.S. Please join us THIS THURSDAY FROM 8:00-8:30 pm for a Celebration and Fundraising Event for Go Big for Kids' Sake! It will be on Facebook and YouTube Live and you can connect by clicking here. It will be a fun and meaningful half an hour- I promise!
MEET EMILY STEIL & ELLIE!

Emily Steil and Ellie have been matched for about a year and a half. Emily and Ellie have developed a great friendship and enjoy hanging out, going to the animal shelter, going on walks and talking Emily’s dog for walks, going to Summerland and playing mini golf, and watching movies. 

In this last year and a half, they have explored a variety of things. One unique activity they did was going to barrel races in Monticello and Ellie loved it! The best thing about their match is that they can really talk to each other. We look forward to watching their match continue to grow!

Todd Kirchner and Kian are!

A Big welcome to one of our newest matches: Todd Kirchner and Kian! Todd was recently matched with his Little Brother Kian! These two are excited to fish, bike, and check out the humane society! 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.

A former Little recruiting for Bigs? Talk about Potential Defended!

Tina Johnson is our new Community Engagement Manager. Her role is to create the marketing and recruiting strategy and implement the strategy, resulting in more Bigs and support for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

She was a Little in our agency from 5th grade until she graduated high school, her longest Match was with Big Sister Jill Lundquist (2014 Big Sister of the Year). Tina was the Little Sister of the Year in 2015 and was a Federated Challenge Scholar, earning a scholarship to attend the St. Cloud Technical & Community College to get her AA in Marketing and Graphic Design.

Tina says about Jill, "She will always be my Big Sister. If it weren't for her and my family, I don't think I would be where I am today."

We are so thrilled you are with us, again, Tina, and can't wait to see all of the lives you'll change through your work with us!
Go Big For Kids' Sake is Presented by:
URGENT: BIGS NEEDED NOW!

As the nation navigates its way through crisis, we are all feeling the toll of the unknown. The kids served through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program are no different. Now, more than ever, they need the friendship & support of a caring mentor. Our mission is CRITICAL- join us!

We especially need Bigs for our school and site based program. Visitors are currently not allowed in the schools- but you can meet with your Little before, after or during school through your device online. Your consistent friendship will mean the world to a Little who is living with so much unknown!

The first step is to let us know you're interested and we will take it from there, visit www.BigDefenders.org to learn more or contact Tina@BigDefenders.org!
THANK YOU, CENTRAL NOON OPTIMIST CLUB!

This month our Partner Spotlight goes to Central MN Noon Optimist Club! This incredible service club seeks to improve the lives of central Minnesota’s kids by making donations and learning about area organizations, individuals and events. They strive to always be “Bringing out the Best in Kids,” which is what our agency exists to accomplish as well!

Our missions align and, as a result, this generous organization recently donated $10,000 to support the kids on our program. If you are considering membership in a local service club, you have to check them out! We are very proud to partner with the Central MN Noon Optimist Club!

We are grateful for all our Community Partners. Check out this list and the next time you are at that business or organization, please thank them for standing with kids!
 
If you are interested in serving on an event or sponsorship committee or have questions about it contact Emily Steinmetz at 320-258-4515 or Emily@BigDefenders.org
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jenna Binsfeld, Peggy Brown, Debbie Clausen, Kevin Fitzpatrick (Treasurer), Patty Funk, Jeff Gannon, Lee Hurd, Courtney Kunkel, Bill Martin-Chaffee, Vince Mohs, Curran Poganski,
Marie Primus (Past President), Luke Riordan, Rick Roehl, Alex Schoephoerster (Vice Pres.),
Christie Schulte, Peter Spaniol (Secretary), Vicky Welty (President)

ADVISORY COUNCIL
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, Joan Vincent,
Bob Walter, Don Watkins, Sue Wendt, Mike Ziemann