on Joe Strychalski
Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas provides, coordinates and supports
one-to-one mentoring relationships for almost 1,000 children each year. BBBS’
program team consists of 19 staff members who work with each child, family
member and volunteer to make and monitor these match relationships on an
ongoing basis. Managing this activity for BBBS is Joe Strychalski, the agency’s
Vice President of Programs.
always had a heart for working with underserved youth,” said Joe.
from Dayton, Ohio, and raised in Indiana, Joe came to BBBS of Central Texas
from Dayton’s BBBS agency. He’d worked for a small youth ministry where he
helped to establish and manage a thrift store, and then worked at a bank before
joining his local BBBS agency as a youth enrollment specialist, putting Bigs
and Littles together.
love the BBBS organization and its mission,” said Joe. “After I joined BBBS in
Dayton, I started looking for opportunities to gain new skills and take on new
responsibilities.” Some of these new skills involved working on the development
side of the agency with fundraising and events.
wanted to do even more at the agency, so I went back to school to get my MBA,”
said Joe. After that, he took on additional responsibilities managing the
agency’s finances and handling the organization’s human resources activities.
day, a friend at the national BBBS office called Joe to tell him about the Vice
President of Programs job opening in Central Texas. After visiting the city and
going through a lengthy interview process, Joe and his wife Carol made the move
of Central Texas is a larger agency than the one in Dayton, but Joe still
oversees a variety of functions – customer service, enrollment, match support
and the agency’s scholarship program. “BBBS is a fun place to work,” said
Joe. “We have great leadership, a new building, and I have an amazing team. Our
staff are always looking for ways to improve. Their enthusiasm and the heart
they bring to our mission are amazing.”
favorite part of his job involves seeing the impact that mentoring makes. “The
first meeting of a match, the introduction of a Big and a Little, is just the
coolest thing,” said Joe. “The Little is super-excited, awkward and nervous,
and the same is true of the Big. The new Big is ready to launch into a new
relationship and have an impact on a child and their family, but they are also
nervous. The program staff get to see Bigs and Littles interact, find shared
interests, and discover how exploring life together can make a difference. We
also get to interact with matches that have been together 8 or more years and
that truly feel like real brothers and sisters. Seeing the ways that mentoring
benefits children, families and volunteers, and helping to create and
strengthen these relationships, is really rewarding.”
and Carol, and their dog, a 90-lb Goldendoodle named Murray, are enjoying the
Austin area, especially all of the outdoor activities available. Joe has also
become the agency’s BBQ connoisseur. Once a month he organizes staff visits to
BBQ restaurants in the Central Texas area.
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