CEO Corner July 2023
I am back in NH after traveling to Anaheim, CA for BBBS annual National Conference “A Bold Path to a Big Future”. This is the epicenter where staff, board members, and volunteers from over 200 affiliates across the country and globe who came together to share best practices in child-safety, programing and to ultimately celebrate the dedication of more than 4,000 staff and volunteers.
The biggest highlight of the conference was the power of youth voices through discussion, dance and song. A youth group from the organization Girls Make Beats provided lively music that they wrote and produced. We heard from the National Youth Poet Laureate Salome Agbaroji who shared an inspiring poem on mental health and a panel of inspiring youth who discussed a variety of important topics from inclusiveness to career readiness.
We honored a group of exceptional individuals, Bill Plaschke, Peggy Lewis, Rachaad White, John Waller, Ryan Detert, Reette Thorns, Nancy Lieberman, and Stephen Hill, as they were inducted into the BBBS Alumni Hall of Fame. This special event was hosted by Emmy Award-winning TV Host and Producer Jeannie Mai Jenkins. This event also featured a powerful and heartfelt performance by Singer-Songwriter and Activist, Aloe Blacc. Aloe wrote and performed a song dedicated to BBBS called "Never Let You Down". To conclude the evening, we continued the celebration with the Alumni Hall of Fame reception and after-party, which was a great opportunity to network and spend a memorable time together!
As many of you know, we lost a special member of the BBBS family last year, BBBS ambassador, National Board Chair and JEDI Council Co-Chair Cheslie Kryst.
Cheslie’s mother, April Simpkins, helped us remember Cheslie’s light and celebrate her legacy with the introduction of the first Cheslie C. Kryst Fellowship winner Jayla Sounders. The fellowship, supported by Express, allows young people to engage with Big Brothers Big Sisters in key areas of study that align with Cheslie’s leadership and legacy within the organization.
Afterward, we honored and celebrated the 2023 National Bigs and Littles of the Year, Angi & Jenna from BBBS Northeast Indiana, and Juan Carlos & Jose Carlos from BBBS Central Arizona, who all shared their heartfelt match stories. Additionally, the Shoe Surgeon, in partnership with the NFL, presented them with their own custom BBBS sneakers! We ended the night with a concert by Grammy Award-winning legend, Wyclef Jean, who had us dancing the night away.
It was a whirlwind adventure, but I am happy to be back in NH working with this super BBBSNH team to kick off our first evahhhh Recruitment Campaign!
You must know someone who likes to do fun things and give back to their local community. Since COVID, the number of volunteer inquires is down but the need for mentors for youth waiting is steadily increasing. Visit our page here to learn more and get involved!
Reply back to me if you are willing to help in the campaign! I am happy to answer any questions and give you some tools that can help us spread the word about mentorship!
Stacy W. Kramer, CEO