A Message of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving often offers a great opportunity to look back over the past year and to note milestones and accomplishments. And though past accomplishments are noteworthy, at BBBS this year we are celebrating many accomplishments that will create future opportunities and success for our kids. Success that your support makes possible.
BBBS has always been about ‘bridging the gap’ for students in our program, helping them overcome barriers and obstacles to their success. This includes providing the support needed to help them stay in school, maintain or improve their academic performance, advance to the next grade level, and ultimately, graduate from high school. We’ve offered such support for almost 50 years.
In 2019, we’ve taken this role to a whole new level. Our Promising Futures Scholarship Program provided more scholarship money and promises to eligible Littles than in years past. This year students either received or were promised a combined $900,000 in scholarship support toward their college goals.
Not only was there an increase in participation in the Scholarship Program, new partners were added as well. The College of Health Care Professions is now among the organizations offering matching scholarships to our Littles.
But this year, the support for our kids doesn’t stop upon their graduation from high school as it once did. We are excited to now take a more formal role in helping them bridge the gap from high school to the next phase of their lives with the expansion of our Big Futures program. BBBS added a full-time Program Coordinator this year and experienced 70% growth in the number of Big Futures matches served over the previous year.
The Big Futures program allows active BBBS mentoring matches to remain open after the mentee turns 18 and graduates from high school. It also offers ongoing support to mentors and mentees, plus resources and guidance toward the three E’s – Enrollment (post-secondary education), Employment (career readiness), or Enlistment (military service). It is the natural next step in moving students toward lifelong success.
These outstanding initiatives are the result of your continued involvement and support. Thank you.
To offer these programs, and ultimately, a brighter future to even more kids in our community, BBBS needs more Big Brothers and Big Sisters. To that end, we launched a new recruitment campaign this year to make an even bigger impact, even partnering with the NFL to highlight the need for male mentors. This effort has resulted in a significant increase in men signing up to be Bigs, and in volunteer inquiries overall, however there is still a huge need for mentors.
I look forward to the year ahead as we work together to help more kids create their biggest possible futures. It is an opportunity I am thankful for year-round.
CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas