Wow, what a year it’s been here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City! We’ve set records across the board. We’re serving more children than ever before.Our Bowl for Kids’ Sake and other fundraising events are at all-time highs. And we’re on pace to make more new matches than we’ve ever done before!
As part of that success, the volunteer recruitment team has had a record-setting year as well. So far this year, 829 Kansas Citians have completed their applications to become a Big Brother, Big Sister or Big Couple. That number eclipses the 763 new Bigs we recruited in 2013. And we have another two months to add to that total!
I want to give a big shout out to the volunteer recruitment team. Tahir Atwater has been a part of our team for the past four years. He’s been a part of our program since 2004. He’s such an awesome co-worker (seriously, he was voted the “Nicest Guy in the Office” by all of us last year). Tahir spearheads our Diversity Task Force, which is charged with helping BBBS bring more diversity into the staff, board and volunteer corps. We’re having a great year with the Task Force as well. And to top it all off, Tahir is a great Big Brother to Jalen!
And Micheala Mathiesen is the newest member of our recruitment team. Micheala is a testament to the power of our program. She was a Little Sister to her Big Sister Brandy some 12 years ago. They remain great friends and Micheala credits Brandy for helping her come of her shell as an adolescent. Micheala has truly paid it forward, as she became a Big Sister to Annabelle this summer. They are two peas in a pod, as Micheala puts it. And as far as work goes, Micheala has lit a fire on the team. She is so organized and energetic. She is a big reason we’re having a such a great year.
As I mentioned before, we are on pace to serve more children than we ever have before. And we’re on pace to make more new matches than we ever have before. But unfortunately, it seems as though our list of children ready to be matched never goes down.
Case in point, when I started at Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2005, we served about 900 children. Our waiting list was around 250 kids. Now, we serve more than 1800 kids. And our waiting list has more than doubled as well, with 523 children currently waiting to be matched.
So it’s a daunting task coming to work every day knowing that if you don’t do your job, there are hundreds of children sitting around waiting for their Big Brother or Big Sister. But that’s also why it’s so cool that we are doing so well in recruiting Bigs. Our program is tapping into the spirit of community and spirit of giving and pride that we as Kansas Citians all share.
And that’s really what it all boils down to. Do you know what our best source of new Bigs is? It’s not advertising on TV or radio, though that helps. It’s not our website or social media, though again, that helps. No, our No. 1 source of new Bigs? Our current Bigs telling their stories to their friends and family and co-workers. More than half of our new Bigs report that they signed up to be a Big because a friend encouraged them to do so.
So all of you Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Big Couples reading this, I challenge you to tell someone about the great friendship you’ve developed with your Little through our program. Tell someone about all the cool activities and opportunities you’ve gotten to share with your Little because of our agency. You never know, that conversation you have with your friend or co-worker, might be the difference between one of our waiting Littles staying on our waiting list, or becoming part of a truly Life-Changing Friendship!
Thanks for all your support and help in 2016 and here’s to an even-better 2017!!!