Big Brothers Big Sisters Wins National Leadership Award

October 7, 2023

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Southwest Colorado was recently voted Small Agency Board of the Year at the national Big Brothers Big Sisters convention. Rebuilding after the challenges of the pandemic, BBBS of Southwest Colorado has implemented a new three-year strategy that emphasizes leadership and development within the staff and board. By Rachel Hughes. This story is sponsored by Kroeger's Ace Hardware and Happy Pappy's Pizza & Wings

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For Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado, the past three years brought challenges and changes. Looking forward to the next three years, the board has worked to develop and initiate a new strategy, one that has already left a positive impact on their local organization, and a positive impression on the national one. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Kroegers Ace Hardware, and Happy Pappy's Pizza-N-Wings. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Since 1984, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado has been working to provide one-on-one mentoring to youth ages six to 18. This year, the organization won Board of the Year at Big Brothers Big Sisters National Conference.

So three years ago it was pandemic, and, you know, for a nonprofit, and for an organization like this to really be scrapping through that time when you can't have fundraisers in public, you can't, there's so many things you can't do as far as meeting, and the growth that it's come over the last three years, especially with the leadership, and Tristen and Jenn taking over those roles, it was just, it just came full circle.

Geno Trujillo joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters board of directors in 2020 and was surprised to learn that their executive director, Jenn Bartlett, had nominated them for the Board of the Year award for small agencies, which are defined as having a budget of less than half a million.

We're a smaller organization, we're at a place where I think we're rebuilding post pandemic as well. And so for the national organization to recognize the work that we are doing, even though we're still at the early stages of rebuilding that, I think was really rewarding.

Board Chair, Tristen Musselman believes they won the award because of their commitment to their new strategy and its implementation.

I think it's super easy for a lot of organizations to develop a plan and be in it in the moment, and then everybody leaves and we forget about that plan. But I think what this organization has done so well, and what our board and staff has done is truly commit to that plan.

A key part of this strategy is supporting leadership, and development within the staff and board.

There's been a lot of progression, just giving time to the staff. We spent many days last fall really engaging, spending our weekends, our Friday mornings coming together, and not only were we strategic planning, but we were building ourselves up as a team, and getting to know each other on a personal level as well.

The staff is involved in matching mentors to their mentees, working with families to ensure the match will be safe and healthy, and fostering environments for their relationships to grow.

We always tell the staff, you are the big to the big, you're the big to the little, and you're the big to the family. And so the staff spend a lot of time providing trainings, support, getting them resources that they need to be successful so that that little can thrive.

This new strategy has helped the board and staff recommit to the organization's mission and vision of supporting relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

So to be able to provide kids at an early age the whole idea and for them to feel, and understand what it is to be mentored will help them to be even more powerful citizens in whatever community they land in, to know that they can return that mentorship, but also to continue to find mentors throughout their life, whether it's formal or informal mentorships.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado has two types of programs; a site-based program where high school students can mentor elementary age students, and a community-based program for adults to mentor youth and teenagers.

You often are looking at our programming while you're around town, whether you're at a coffee shop, the river trail, up at Purgatory, even on hiking trails around, you actually might be walking by our bigs and littles, but a lot of times you don't know.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado encourages you to get involved by donating to their year-end giving campaign or signing up to become a mentor. They also invite you to join them for Three Springs Fall Festival on Saturday, October 28th. For more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters or to schedule your donation, visit their website. Learn more about this story and others at Thank you for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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