From the President and CEO
January is National Mentoring Month, so first and foremost, thank you to the women who are currently volunteering as Big Sisters and the thousands of women who have invested their time, care, and attention as Big Sisters over the years! I also want to recognize the financial investment of funders like Imago Dei and the Women's Foundation of Boston who is sponsoring our New Girls Network: Class of 2019 kick-off on January 30. Without them, we could not serve nearly 5,000 women and girls annually.
We serve women and girls holistically, providing opportunities for growth and nurturing their healthy development through professional support. As such, we notice messages about how women and girls should act, sound, and look, and those messages are often mixed. We're told to lean in, but then again, maybe we should be leaning out. We're expected to be likable to get ahead, but our likability has been highly scrutinized, especially in recent political coverage. We're told to eschew perfectionism, but we are often criticized when we make mistakes, let down our guard, or speak our mind.
With all these seemingly conflicting expectations, what's a gal to do? Well, for one, we can identify our values and core beliefs as individuals. Next, we can model that authenticity for another woman or girl in our lives (and if the controversial new ad from Gillette taught us anything, modelling is just as important for men and boys). At Big Sister, we often tell our volunteers, and women who are considering becoming Big Sisters, to be present, not perfect. Sure, you could say that's just another expectation put upon us, but it is a manageable and important place to start: simply being present, not worrying about which way we should be leaning, if we're likable enough, or if we said or did the exact "right" thing just now.
So thank you Big Sisters for being everyday role models, and thank you to the men and women who shine a spotlight on the importance of mentoring relationships by investing in our work.
Little Sister Board Grows Up
Big Sister Nicole Pogue and Little Sister Nakiya raising money at Big in Boston; Big Sister Amy Kaye, Little Sister Sarina, Little Sister Azhane, and Big Sister Julie D'Alessandro at their last Little Sister Board meeting
If you attended Big in Boston last November, you may remember hearing about our Little Sister Board from two of its members: Big Sister Nicole Pogue and her Little Sister Nakiya. The Little Sister Board began in 2015 as a leadership opportunity for our teen Little Sisters to elevate their voices in fundraising as well as planning and executing activities for other matches with teen Little Sisters. Since its inception, the Little Sister Board has raised nearly $4,000 in support of teen programming.
Last month, two of the founding Big and Little Sister matches graduated from the Board, passing the torch to newer Board matches like Nicole and Nakiya. Little Sister Sarina, 18, and her Big Sister Amy Kaye who have been matched for five years, played a key role in planning fundraisers like the Lemonade Day stand, activities like the teen zone at our Summer Sister Picnic, and shaping post-secondary support programs like Sister Scholars and Our Big Futures. Little Sister Azhane, 21, and her Big Sister Julie D'Alessandro, who have been matched for 10 years, have done everything from volunteering at our annual Dream Dress Day to Azhane speaking with a funder during an office visit to advocate for an investment in Big Sister Boston's work.
We thank Azhane, Julie, Sarina, and Amy for their commitment and service, and we look forward to seeing more big things from them as they continue their journeys! Stay tuned for the next Little Sister Board fundraiser in the spring.
Imago Dei Fund Invests in the Future of Greater Boston's Girls
We are proud to announce that in 2019 the
Imago Dei Fund
is making a big investment in Greater Boston's women and girls with a three-year grant of $300,000. The Imago Dei Fund is m
otivated by their faith and a commitment to the inherent dignity and common humanity of all people. They invest around the world in visionary and impactful organizations working to advance universal human rights, gender balance, justice and spiritual holism. Their mission is to co-create a more just and more free world in which all human beings can thrive and flourish together.
Among their three grant-making priorities is elevating women and girls by working alongside partners who are removing barriers and increasing access for women and girls in education, health, and the economy, so that they can reach their full potential. Imago Dei believes that our organizational values and the impact of our gender-intentional, one-to-one mentoring relationships are in lock-step with their mission.
Little Sister Jade Shines at Youth Mentoring Day
On January 15, Mass Mentoring Partnership hosted their 13th
annual Youth Mentoring Day at the Massachusetts State House. It was the highest attended Youth Mentoring Day to date, with a crowd of 285 guests, many of whom were young people there to advocate to our legislators for funding of the youth mentoring line item in the state budget.
One of the young people in attendance was Little Sister Jade, 17, who was joined by her Big Sister of 10 years, Val Kesaris, and who spoke on the panel: Relationships for Change. Jade was the only girl on the four-person panel that consisted of mentees and a mentor from other programs across the state. She spoke proudly of the relationship she has shared with Val and how that relationship has transformed her outlook on her future: "First I learned, and then I knew," Jade said of the confidence she gained over the course of a decade with Val cheering her on.
In case you missed it, check out video clips of Jade's remarks during the panel on our Twitter and Instagram.
Mark Your Calendar
Upcoming Big Sister Boston events you don't want to miss.
New Girls Network
January 30, 2019
The New Girls Network: Class of 2019 will kick-off at PricewaterhouseCoopers and is sponsored by the
Women's Foundation of Boston
. Current and former Big Sisters are invited to attend for a chance to be matched with a seasoned woman professional in a mentoring relationship that will foster your personal and professional development throughout the year. If you would like to attend the kick-off event for the class of 2019, please email Kasey Olson at
Project Role Model Fashion Show
March 27, 2019
Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston
Notable Bostonians join Big and Little Sisters on the runway for an event that will inspire more than your wardrobe! Join us for a fun, fresh, and fashion-forward fundraiser in support of Big Sister Boston's mentoring and enrichment programs for girls. Stay tuned for event details and featured models to be announced.
Tickets on sale February 13. For sponsorship information, please contact MK Thornton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big Sister has a large, fully furnished
that can be rented for hourly or daily rates. Please contact our Senior Administrative Specialist, Deborah Pless, at 617.236.8060 for more information.