Our Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday gift store "From Me To You" opens this week! I thought I would mark the occasion by writing about my Big Brothers Big Sisters journey (hereafter BBBS). But first a few pictures of the store:
|Relax by the fire in our waiting area with a cup of hot cocoa...|
|...while your kids gift shop in the store!|
I didn't realize it at the time, but my first exposure to BBBS started in late 1970's when I saw public service announcements as a kid watching NFL football games with my dad. Years later I went in for a job interview for a part time case management position at BBBS of Oklahoma City in 1995. My impression of the organization at that point was literally that it helped poor inner city kids by throwing footballs around with them. And it kind of does just that. It's simple magic.
Working as a case manager for BBBS I got to hear from kids, parents and volunteers who not only really enjoyed the program but felt that they were doing something truly meaningful and worthwhile. I did too - especially after talking to a kid who had grown up after having a Big Brother for 2 years in middle school. This 25 year old told me that he wouldn't be graduating college if it hadn't been for his Big Brother taking him to visit the Oklahoma University campus and telling him that he could dream bigger and aim higher. Since that day I've heard countless stories from everyone involved in the program about how much the program impacts their lives. Simple, but powerful, magic.
I've had many roles in the organization over 15 years but I'm currently the CEO --so the fact that there are 1,200 kids on the waiting list is my responsibility. We always have kids on the waiting list! Kids who just want a friend, someone to hang out with, with parents who have signed them up because they need help now. Even though we match up to 50 new kids each month there are also 150 new kids applying to get a Big Brother or Big Sisters every month as well! So what to do to raise more money? Because we know that we do works and we want to bring this program to more kids. What would you do?
Open up a gift store in the mall? It's holiday retail magic!
So, that's what we're doing! Tell all of your friends to come out and spend some money (ie make a donation)!!!! :) We've got lots of fun gifts! We are:
- in Rolling Oaks Mall,
- upstairs, just outside of Macy's,
- right above Santa,
- for 26 days starting on Black Friday.
I want to give a Big shout out of thanks to these SA Bloggers who came out last week to preview the store: Colleen at San Antonio Mom Blogs, Tori at the sTORIbook, Lori at My Six Ring Circus, Inga at San Antonio Charter Moms, Stacy at Kid's Stuff World, Kristina at Hott Mama in the City, Ashley at living in the (mom)ent, and Telma at the Fire Hydrant. Y'all were our first customers - I hope we are a big magical success and you remember us back when! :)