Stand Strong, Stay Safe, We Are Here for You
As a CEO, who started with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio in January of 2020, I had a very unique experience of leading this great organization during a time of dual crisis. As a community, we started 2020, facing the pressures associated with systemic racism and, later, COVID-19. These dual pandemics have tested our community’s ability to be more socially conscious and innovative.
Some will say these challenges have weakened our communities. I say they have made us stronger and more resilient. As a community of one, we continue to support one another through peaceful protest, acts of kindness, and selfless giving. Through a time of dual crisis, we managed to stay focused on the ultimate goals of demanding social equality and mitigating the impact of the virus.
Despite the hectic year we just had in 2020, our organization saw growth in capabilities and expansion in services. Throughout last year, we saw firsthand how hard work helped contribute to our achievements along the way. We achieved several key milestones, all of which placed us in a better position for the future.
All of our success is because of our dedicated staff, board, and other major stakeholders, such as our community, donors, partners, program participants, and sponsors. I want to take this moment to thank every one of you for your unwavering commitment and dedication. Your passion, support, and hard work have and continue to play an integral role in our organization’s success.
As we embark on this new year, we remain mission-focused to “Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.” In 2021, we will continue to work towards improving in these key areas:
Staff and Operations
- Enhance staff capabilities through continuous and advanced training.
- Build staffing levels to mirror community needs.
- Strengthen and expand technology.
- Continue to listen to constituents and develop programs that solve priority needs for our community.
- Continue expanding programming through virtual platforms to meet the needs of the community safely.
- Provide community connection and engagement opportunities for all to ensure equitable access.
Social Responsibility and Equity and Justice
- Implement equity into everything thing we do and how we do it.
- Using our social-media platform to educate others on the negative impact of implicit bias.
Youth Programming Initiatives
- Expand the Bigs With Badges mentoring program throughout Lucas and Wood counties. This program is designed to build relationships between individuals who work in public safety (Police, Sheriff, Fire, Corrections, and Emt) with youths in the communities they serve.
- Identify funding sources for our new Beyond School Walls program. This program addresses the gap in workforce readiness by engaging a cohort of youth (high school age) in a mentoring setting with professionals from within a partnering company.
Our focus for this year and future years will always be on supporting youth and community partners. Based on our success in 2020, I am optimistic that with your commitment and support, we will be capable of achieving all of our goals for 2021.
For all of you who celebrate the new year, let me take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.
Dr. Marvin Whitfield