Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri recently recognized the achievements of 55 Little Brothers and Sisters at the agency’s annual graduation ceremony. Big Brothers Big Sisters staff and Bigs presented the graduating Littles with awards and certificates and then enjoyed an evening of food and further celebration.
Opening the evening’s program at the BBBSEMO office at the corner of Grand and Olive in St. Louis, Stephanie Godwin-Chu, Senior Director of Program Operations, told the group of graduating Littles, Bigs and their friends and family members, “When you signed up for this program, our goal was to keep your match together for at least one year. At this time we are excited to share with you that the average length of match for these 55 graduates is over 5 ½ years!”
One of the matches Godwin-Chu highlighted for its longevity was Little Sister Patrice and Big Sister Amy. Teamed nearly 13 years ago, these friends were acknowledged for their commitment. “Thank you for being such a great example of a strong and enduring relationship,” Godwin-Chu said.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Becky James-Hatter, Big Sister, donor and President/CEO of BBBSEMO. In addition to extending her congratulations to the Littles and Bigs in the crowd, James-Hatter also gave a shout out to the moms. “None of us would have had the opportunity to be there without you first caring so much about your kids to seek out that little extra support – to help your kids be the best they can possibly be,” James-Hatter said, adding, “I am so overwhelmed by your generosity.”
Before the program concluded, John Fechter, issued a challenge to the graduating group of Littles. Fechter is Senior Vice President, Director - Taxable Fixed Income Trading at Wells Fargo Advisors, a member of the BBBSEMO Board of Directors and Big Brother to Little Brother Tyreze. “My ask of you is this: now that you are responsible young adults, I want you to ‘Be There’ for someone else. A young sibling, a kid in the neighborhood, a niece or nephew, it doesn’t really matter who.”
We’ll Be Theresm is the promise BBBSEMO makes its Little Brothers and Little Sisters. BBBSEMO does not commit to “fix it” but does commit to “be there” for encouragement and support.
“Being there makes you feel good inside. Being there makes our community better. Being there makes you a better person and sets you apart. Being there takes a little extra, but each of you has an excellent example of what being there is all about,” Fechter suggested.
Big Brothers Big Sisters mission is to build trusting and enduring relationships that encourage and support young people. With more than 600 kids on the waiting list, the organization is in significant need of volunteers. For more information on how to become a Big Brother or Big Sister, contact Vivian Gibson at (314) 361-5900 or visit Big Brothers Big Sisters on the web at www.bbbsemo.org.