Traverse City, MI — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan (Bigs) is proud to be recognized for the sixth year in a row as a 2020 Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) Quality Award Winner. Every year, the BBBSA Nationwide Leadership Council, made up of local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency leaders and board members, select agencies for excellence in the 1-to-1 mentoring program, which ignites the power and promise of youth. Despite the challenges of the past year, including the pandemic, social unrest, and economic uncertainty, 49 out of the 236 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country received top honors in quality.
“Receiving this award is a great testament to the hard work being accomplished by our board and staff who have made quality programming a priority for our local children,” said Cecilia Chesney, Executive Director of Bigs. “Their dedication equates to more mentorship in Northwestern Michigan and a brighter future for area youth.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters was founded more than 100 years ago as an organization focused on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. It grew out of a need to offer an alternative path for youth facing the juvenile justice system. The program is based on in-person connections, but social distancing due to the pandemic prompted agencies to find innovative ways for volunteer mentors (‘Bigs’) to stay connected with their mentees (called ‘Littles’). The agency served 295 youth last year. Staff provided support and coaching using a virtual model; they also found ways to connect Bigs, Littles and their families with additional resources.
“Over the past several months, I’ve heard from agency leaders in rural towns and metropolitan communities, those in the suburbs and every place in between,” said Artis Stevens, President & CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “And there’s one theme I’ve noticed everywhere, and that’s the power of resilience. We congratulate these agencies for earning these top honors. The level of commitment and dedication is outstanding, to see staff doing all they can to make sure our youth will not only survive these challenging times but thrive.”
The Quality Award Winners will be formally recognized at the 2021 Virtual ‘Bigger Together’ National Conference in June.
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