From the Director
As a donor-supported volunteer program, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Washtenaw County’s successes are directly tied to the commitment of YOU, our supporters. With these From the Director updates, we hope that you will learn more about what we do to Inspire the Potential of young people in our community through building one-to-one mentoring relationships.
2018’s big news was the roll out of our new Brand. After a year of focus groups and work with a marketing firm, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America revealed our new look, feel and logo. This change has allowed us to introduce ourselves to the next generation and re-introduce ourselves to those that have supported us all along. We don’t CREATE Potential. We DEFEND it. Our job, as a community of supporters of young people is to IGNITE, INSPIRE and EMPOWER their POTENTIAL by giving them opportunities and experiences, support and guidance and being their Champions!
In 2018, we were able to do this by creating and supporting relationships for 364 young people and their Bigs. In addition, we implemented new supports for our matches through a Skills Building Night, where Bigs and Littles set goals for their match, as well as Big Success Trainings, specifically for Bigs to learn about topics that will help them support their Little better. We hosted 24 events throughout the year - everything from learning to code at Tinker Tech, volunteering at Ypsi Proud and Growing Hope, attending Shakespeare in the Arb, a Tigers game and learning work out techniques at Blue Lion Fitness.
In early 2018, we re-aligned our program staff to focus on the quality metrics that lead to longer, stronger matches, as we know that that is what creates long term outcomes for young people. We had a great year in improving our numbers in these areas and saw statistically significant results in the areas of social acceptance and having a special adult in their lives. These two areas, research shows, leads to improved grades, higher graduation rates and reduced crime.
We also made a decision to move our Rise and Shine event to the Spring of 2019, spreading out our community outreach and fundraising events. This meant that we needed to pull off another amazing Fall Evening event, and thanks to our Board and the planning committee, we did just that. We were hosted on a hot September evening by Nancy and Patrick Paige, and with the backdrop of the Arb raised over $220,000 to support mentoring relationships.
We thank you for your support over this past year. We cannot do what we do without your commitment to BBBS and our kids. And we humbly ask that you consider us in your 2019 giving plan. Please Save the Date for this years’ events: Bowl For Kids’ Sake – March 20th & 23rd, Rise and Shine for Kids’ Sake, featuring key speaker John Beilein – April 18th, and a Fall Evening with BBBS – September 8th. We look forward to seeing you there!
Jennifer Spitler is a Licensed Master Social Worker with the State of Michigan. She has worked at BBBS of Washtenaw County since 2002, in a variety of roles - Match Specialist, Program Supervisor and Executive Director.