Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission of individualized mentoring is one that has stood the test of time for more than 117 years and is second to none. Every day, our staff and volunteers provide substantive and compassionate one-to-one mentoring relationships that enhance the life of our Littles while also transforming the lives and perspectives of our Bigs, helping to build a more just and equitable community across Virginia.
On March 16, 2020, I assumed the role of Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central and Eastern Virginia. Joining this organization was an incredible honor and one of the greatest moments of my personal and professional career. The camaraderie and commitment found here showcased how we, as a community, could support youth and their families with love, compassion and understanding. Over the past 21 months, our work expanded to give kids hope for a better tomorrow through a pandemic and economic downturn on top of mentoring them through the everyday struggles of childhood and adolescence.
Today, I find myself on the path to new challenges. As I reflect on the past and look towards the future, I meet this juncture with sorrow and excitement. On December 17, I announced to the Board of Directors that I would be moving on from BBBS to take on a new role with another organization that also inspires my commitment to our community and philanthropy. This decision was extremely difficult, but I know that I leave BBBS bigger, better, stronger and in the very capable hands of our extremely talented staff and highly committed Board and volunteers.
Over the last two years, I have been inspired by the BBBS community. I have had the privilege of reconnecting past donors and Board members with our organization and mission. Throughout these interactions, these individuals often reflected on the transformation our Littles experience and how their time with BBBS fundamentally changed their perspective on how we engage as a community. I have also had the distinct honor of leading the most amazingly talented team in the non-profit sector. The BBBS staff work diligently day and night with heart and strategic vision to ensure that every match is made in the best interest of our Littles and Bigs.
Change is never easy, but also a necessity as we all take on new challenges and opportunities. I had the advantage of standing on the shoulders of my predecessors and will now serve as a part of the foundation of former staff for the next generation of leaders and help them move BBBS into its next phase of growth. While my time as Executive Director comes to an end, the impact we make every day is ongoing and I will continue to be a part of BBBS’s future in new capacities.
As you read this email, please reflect on the moment you joined this organization. You became a part of BBBS because you believed in the power of one-to-one mentoring. BBBS is not just another nonprofit. It is a living, breathing organization that represents the best of our community at all levels. It serves as a critical support system for the next generation of business and civic leaders and will continue to need all of us to ensure a vibrant future for all youth.
Today, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Board of Directors begins the search for a new Executive Director. In the interim, Ellie Martinez, the current Program Director will serve as the Interim Executive Director until a permanent candidate can be secured. Ellie has been with BBBS for more than 10 years and more than 5 here in Virginia. She serves this organization faithfully and is ready to help lead during this transition. In the meantime, please know that BBBS is as strong as ever and we will continue to provide excellent services to our Bigs and Littles.
As BBBS begins its celebration of 60 years of mentoring in Virginia, I hope each of you will stand with me in sharing the important work of this organization. It takes all of us – staff, volunteers, donors, and corporate and civic partners to create true, lasting and meaningful change. Thank you to our volunteers and donors for your past and ongoing support of our mission and thank you for the privilege of serving as your administrative leader.