It was just about nine months ago when we took over the responsibility of running Big Brothers Big Sisters in this region, becoming the local affiliate and renaming the program “Big Brothers Big Sisters at the Y.” We were proud and humbled to take on the stewardship of this critically important and highly respected youth development program, which so well fits with our existing and deep set of programs designed to lift up the opportunities for young people who are facing tremendous challenges and risks in their communities. Today, with 750 youth being mentored across the Y, 450 of whom are supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters at the Y (BBBSY), we are able to make a deep impact on the lives of youth who need the presence of a caring, consistent adult in their lives who affirms their worth and reinforces their dreams (and who among us doesn’t need that?).
As happy as we were to make the announcement last July about BBBSY, it’s a lot harder to actually make it all work and smoothly integrate a longstanding program into our existing operation. Frankly, it’s been a bumpy road at times, which is to be expected, but that doesn’t make it any easier. No transition of this sort is without its bumps and bruises.
This is why I was so gratified and proud to learn that we recently received notification from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) that our very own BBBSY has been identified as a Quality Award Winner by the BBBSA National Leadership Council! Thanks to the hard work of Derryk Fletcher, Chanel Speaks and the entire BBBSY team, we’ve been able to exceed the national standards and have been identified as a leader in numbers of children served, revenue, and mentoring match retention.
To have received this recognition in our first year of running BBBSY is a gratifying milestone, and makes all of the transitional challenges easily worth the effort. I am very proud of the entire BBBSY team for their commitment to the young people being mentored (the “Littles”), the steadfast adults providing the mentoring (“the Bigs”) and to an unshakeable focus on quality and impact.
While it will be very exciting for Chanel Speaks, Operations Director of BBBSY, to accept this award on our behalf this June at the BBBSA Annual Conference in St. Louis, the real reward is knowing we’re helping so many vulnerable and promising young people reach their potential and have the same opportunity all people deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life.
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland