By Lauren Mohatt, Events Manager
This year denotes a remarkable milestone for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands. Our local agency is celebrating its 60th anniversary serving kids throughout Omaha and Council Bluffs!
Our story began back in 1959 when four friends – Phil Patterson, Bob Hasebroock, Jim Rosenquist and L.A. Bukacek – recognized a need for mentoring relationships between kids and adult role models in our community. Their passion transformed into the organization that we all know today.
Ever since I started my position here at BBBS, I have enjoyed learning about our organization’s history and how much we have grown since our founding. In its humble beginnings as a new nonprofit in Omaha, the number of staff members was in the single digits and now look at us – we have 36 staff who are continuously working hard each day to create life-changing friendships.
Think about that first Big and Little match who were placed together many years ago; six decades later, our agency has matched thousands of kids and provided opportunities for growth in school, at home and in their self-confidence. The youth we serve realize their full potential in life through new experiences with their Big, having adventures outside the walls of school and home.
Our community-based mentoring program has been developed on a strong foundation, and we are continuously aiming to reach all kids who need our help the most. We understand that kids come from all walks of life and that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. In addition to our traditional mentoring model, we have incorporated special mentoring programs to reach children of incarcerated parents, Latino youth, those within the juvenile justice system and in foster care. We have even established our Bigs in Blue program to bridge the divide between law enforcement and those in the community.
We have always endeavored to be an inclusive and welcoming place for youth, volunteers, families, and employees of all backgrounds, experiences and identities. Thanks to an initiative from the national organization, our local agency assessed and evaluated our program’s inclusivity and effectiveness in the LGBTQIA+ community. We have created partnerships with several organizations that empower LGBTQIA+ individuals in our community and our staff has taken an active role in learning more through participation in various trainings, panels and discussions.
As we look back over these past 60 years, we are grateful for the unwavering support of our board members, volunteers, donors, families, corporate and community partners, staff, and all those who are passionate about kids achieving their full potential in life. It is because of you that we have been around for 60 years, and with your help, we can stick around for 60 more!
Will you join us in 2019 as we celebrate this milestone and strive to make this year bigger and better than ever?!? There are many ways to get involved and help us mark 60 years in the books: Participate in an agency event such as the Big Basketball Bash or Bowl for Kids’ Sake. Become a Big Brother, Big Sister or Big Couple. Get your company involved in our mission by hosting a Lunch-and-Learn or match activity for our Bigs and Littles in the program. Make a donation at www.bbbsomaha.org/donate to take a child off the waitlist and ignite the potential that we know is there.
Let’s make 2019 a year to remember! Cheers to 60 years!