Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Fredericksburg has been recognized as a 2020 Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Quality Award winner. Every year, the BBBSA nationwide leadership council, made up of local Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliate leaders and board members, selects affiliates 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.
“Even during this challenging year for nonprofits in our region, the staff of Big Brothers Big Sisters continued to uphold the highest national standards of quality for our mentoring program,” said Michelle Hedrich, Executive Director of BBBS Greater Fredericksburg. “With the investment of our board and donors, we strengthened our community by providing individualized support to children and families.”
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 local affiliates to find innovative ways for volunteer mentors (Bigs) to stay connected with their mentees (Littles). Staff provided support and coaching using a virtual model; they also found ways to connect Bigs, Littles and their families with additional community resources.
“Over the past several months, I’ve heard from BBBS leaders in rural towns and metropolitan communities, those in the suburbs and every place in between,” said Artis Stevens, president and 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 affiliates 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 were formally recognized at the 2021 virtual Bigger Together BBBSA national conference in June.