CEO Corner, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NH

CEO Corner January 2021


Welcome, 2021. In preparing this first note of the year, I set out to share something downright spectacular to pull you in and kick off the new year in epic fashion.

Then - in the midst of pondering the promise of the year ahead - I watched, stunned, as events unfolded last week in our nation's Capitol that seemed to overshadow any sliver of light on the horizon. This assault on our democracy, a value that unites Americans from every walk of life, brought me back to the importance and urgency of carrying out BBBSNH's mission with a stark reminder: Our children are growing up in a complex, confusing, imperfect world where they need caring adults in their corner - folks in whom they can trust, seek advice and share a connection.

For more than 500 New Hampshire youth, a Big Brother or Big Sister is one of those people.

People like Ted Mead, a BBBSNH mentor who, when his Little Brother Bryan wanted to remove graffiti from a wooden bridge on his favorite walking path, offered up a battery-powered sander and an afternoon to help get the job done.

People like the Big Sister who recently reached out to her friend who owns a spa to set up a "virtual spa night" for her and her Little Sister, complete with samples and a tutorial from the spa owner.

People like the Big Brother who recently took his 6-year-old Little Brother to Barnes and Noble for the first time, during which the boy examined the stacks and shelves of books and exclaimed, "Wow! I have never seen anything like this. I can't wait to tell my mom about this place."

As we celebrate National Mentoring Month this January, a new favorite quote I recently came across perfectly describes this moment in time:

A crisis doesn't change people; it amplifies who they already are.

I spotted this kernel of wisdom in a newsletter from Selfish Giving - hands-down the best source for cause marketing know-how that also happens to be written by my uncle, Joe Waters. (I may be a bit biased.)

Our Bigs are guiding and inspiring future leaders, and the last year has amplified their generosity, empathy, humility and wisdom. Their commitment to our youth is everything, and with help from our team they provide necessary protective factors to help Granite State youth reach their full potential.

We have so many examples of past Littles who exemplify the best aspects of our community. One of them, Joanna Kelley, was recently featured in Portsmouth Living magazine. Anyone who knows Joanna knows that - mentor or not - she was bound for big things. This woman is a force of nature.

But Joanna, who was a Little Sister in our program as a child, gives a lot of credit to her Big Sister Stephanie for helping guide her through many difficult times in her young life. Now an entrepreneur, Big Sister (2018 NH Big Sister of the Year, in fact), and member of our Young Philanthropists for Mentoring (YP4M), Joanna works hard alongside the rest of the young professionals in YP4M to raise awareness and critical funding to support our mission of creating and sustaining these life-changing mentoring relationships. This group, currently based on the Seacoast, is recruiting and hopes to one day expand to other communities.

Joanna, and many of our past Littles, give back in a way that is full circle, and in every sense of the word is amplifying the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

If you're not already, we hope one day you'll consider joining us by becoming a Big. Mentoring is important. It works. We are defending the potential of future generations. How epic is that?

We ask for a 4-hour commitment a month for one year (although our average Big, once matched by our awesome team, sticks with it for 3 years or more). What will this crisis amplify in you?

Happy National Mentoring Month,

Stacy W. Kramer, CEO

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