CEO Corner, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NH

CEO Corner: November Updates


Stacy Kramer, CEO

What are you thankful for? As I reflect on thankfulness this month, I want to share a quick story that gets right to the heart of what Big Brothers Big Sisters' mentoring is all about.

Recently, a 12-year-old girl in our program had an experience that has become sadly familiar these days. Having been exposed to COVID-19 at her school, she was put on 14-day home quarantine. The isolation would be hard enough, but that weekend she had plans with her Big Sister to make a special kind of tea they both like and enjoy some "girl time." Those plans, obviously, were cancelled.

Not one to let her Little Sister down, this outstanding mentor found a local tea shop that delivers and had two cups of their favorite tea dropped off on her Little Sister's doorstep for her Little to enjoy with her mom.

This simple gesture not only made her Little's day, but it also illustrates the compassion and commitment displayed by our dedicated volunteer mentors every day. It's those simple gestures, added up exponentially over the course of the days, weeks, months and years, which make me and so many others immeasurably thankful for Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire.

During this time, I, like many folks, am trying to stay optimistic. I've been thinking about how my family will manage through this winter during a pandemic - with two tween boys, my husband who is a teacher, and my dad living with us - oh, boy! While we all face different circumstances, I know you can probably relate in some way, and the one constant for all of us is keeping our families safe and healthy while cases of COVID-19 are on the rise.

The health and safety of our mentors and youth is also constantly on the minds of our staff as we help matches navigate these challenging times. I am thankful for our awesome team that brings their "A-game" and passion to our mission every single day. To meet the needs of our youth, they are innovative and dedicated to keeping kids connected.

I also give thanks to mentors everywhere. The person who picks you up, gives you strength when you don't feel strong. The person you look up to and makes you feel like you belong and count. I would certainly not be where I am today without the many mentors in my life. And in spite of the pandemic, community members just like you continue to sign up to volunteer. This is such a testament to the strength of our community.

On top of that, I have been overwhelmed by the network of supporters and mentors in our program who have stepped up even further by donating to our Thankful Giving Campaign, or started a "friend-raiser" to ask friends and family to help us reach our fundraising goal. More Bigs are participating than ever before, and just the other day four Bigs became first-time donors!

Now, it's time for me to ask you to join us. If you've already contributed, thank you. If not, are you looking for a unique way to give back this season?

First, consider giving the gift of mentorship by making a financial contribution to our Thankful Giving Campaign. Any amount makes a difference.

Although our mentors donate their time, it costs BBBSNH money to conduct training, background checks, enrollment interviews, and provide ongoing support to each child and mentor in to the program. The annual per-match cost is about $1,800, which is all raised locally.

There is really no greater gift or one that will have greater impact for years to come. And, thanks to some corporate and individual donors, we have more than $11,000 in matching gifts, meaning if you donate here through next Tuesday, your gift can be doubled.

Other ways to help:

  • While we don't currently have the capacity to coordinate holiday gift donations for children, we do have families in need of gift cards for groceries, gas and other essential items. If you'd like to donate a gift card, please reply to this email, or mail it to our Stratham office.
  • Consider going in with your family to pool your holiday money and donate it in your family's name to support a match. In past seasons, we've received such donations from families who forego material gifts to make donations, and they say it enriches their holidays. 

Thank you for standing with us, today and every day. Together, we are making life-changing relationships for the youth of New Hampshire.

This article was originally featured in the NOVEMBER issue of The Mentoring Connection, BBBSNH's monthly e-newsletter. To sign up for updates directly to your inbox click here. 

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