President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Pam Iorio gives thanks to Nerium International and the Nerium Ripple Foundation for supporting the country’s oldest and most effective mentoring organization.
At Thanksgiving, we reflect on the year that is nearly over and recount what we have to be thankful for in our lives. At Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, we are most thankful for our volunteers. Despite living busy lives – many of our Big Brothers and Big Sisters have children of their own, some are college students, and many more are hardworking professionals – our Bigs find time to spend an hour or so a week with a child who needs the guidance of a caring adult.
This has been a hard year in many ways across our nationwide Network. Many of our staff members, Bigs, and Littles were affected by the fires in Northern California. When Hurricane Harvey hit, floods overtook the city of Houston and surrounding areas, where our largest Affiliate is located. Our Florida Affiliates braced for the impact of Hurricane Irma. Our Las Vegas Affiliate grappled with how to talk to Littles about mass shootings. Through it all, we watched out for one another and took solace in the work we do – building relationships one by one. I truly believe that the only way to heal from trauma like this is to focus one-on-one on listening and understanding. That is the work of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Many of my favorite memories of this year are of meeting Bigs and Littles. I got to spend time at our National Conference with our Big Sister of the Year, Erin, and Big Brother of the Year, Terence. These two extraordinary people have chosen to give their time to change the life of a young person. Terence told me that he was once a Little Brother himself. His Big Brother was the first person to take him to a college campus, and he decided at 8 years old that he would make sure he attended college. Years later, when he was earning his degree, he volunteered to become a Big Brother himself. He was matched with Little Brother Terrell, who had had a traumatic childhood. The two stayed close even when Terence was deployed to Iraq with the National Guard. Now, Terrell is 19. He graduated high school, enlisted in the National Guard, and is determined to attend college and become a dentist. It’s these kinds of futures that Big Brothers Big Sisters makes possible.
Imagine a Company Dedicated to Our Mission
But we cannot do it alone. We need the support of great corporate partners, like Nerium International, who support our mission and encourage their Brand Partners to become Bigs. Each Big is a volunteer, but it takes highly trained staff to recruit and screen volunteers and to provide structured support to each match relationship. So, we are also thankful for our donors, who support our Affiliates across the country. Nerium Brand Partners are among our most committed monthly supporters, and Nerium International and its Brand Partners have given more than $5 million in the last five years. Brand Partners often tell us that it was Nerium International’s Renee Olson, who has set a great example as a Big Sister to her Little Sister, Ryan, who inspired them to give or to get involved with their local Big Brothers Big Sisters Affiliate.
As you reflect this week on what you are thankful for, think also about the causes you believe in, the people who are working hard to make the world better, and those who inspire us. Thank you for your support of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Happy Thanksgiving.
If you are interested in supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters or becoming a volunteer Big, visit www.bbbs.org/nerium.