BBBSCMMW and EMC Corporation Celebrate Black History Month


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We gave 12 of our Littles canvases, paint, and a brief explanation of the history and meaning of Black History Month. What was the result? 12 pieces of amazing artwork representing each of their diverse and unique interpretations of what it means to celebrate Black history.

EMC 29Throughout February, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA/MW partnered with EMC Corporation, a computer data storage company headquartered in Hopkinton, MA, to celebrate Black History Month. We partner with EMC through our site-based program at David Mindess Elementary School, where several volunteers from EMC will go for one hour a week to mentor a child in need, so when we were given the opportunity to expand this partnership by incorporating our program and mission into EMC’s Black History Month Closing Ceremonies, we were happy to be included!

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After supplying the paint and canvases, two employees from EMC, Eric Jamerson and Danita Sutton, joined the Site Based Program at the Framingham Boys & Girls Club to give the Littles and their Bigs a short explanation of Black History Month and to ask them to paint what they thought best represented everything they talked about. What each match came up with was truly beautiful. From crossed out words like “discrimination” and “hate” to peace signs to flags from all over the world, each match created a unique and creative masterpiece.

EMC 26EMC 25The paintings were displayed at EMC’s Closing Ceremonies, where a delicious lunch from Safari Cafe, a Kenyan Restaurant in Worcester, was served and guest speaker, Dr. Gloria Mayfield Banks, spoke about leadership, success, and the importance of mentoring.EMC 23

One of the things Dr. Banks said that resonated with all of the BBBSCM staff in attendance was how powerful the act of encouragement can be. The encouraging words of her mother played an important role in her journey to becoming the successful woman she is today.

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The paintings will soon be displayed at the EMC Corporation Corporate Office. A BIG thank you goes to EMC Corporation for including us in their Black History Month Celebrations and for their continued partnership and support.

To see more photos of the paintings and from the closing ceremonies, click here.

Staff Spotlight: Katherine

Katherine with Santa at the 2014 Annual Holiday Party

Katherine with Santa at the 2014 Annual Holiday Party

Have you ever wondered who you would talk to if you wanted to enroll your child in our program or volunteer to become a Big Brother or Big Sister? Wonder no more. Meet Katherine Ott, who began working at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest (BBBS of CM/MW) in April of 2012. She is our Customer Relations & Community Program Coordinator. She takes care of all inquiries within the agency, so when someone has a question, she’s the go to person to answer them.

Katherine graduated from Keene State College in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. She is a proud member of Psi Chi: National Honor Society of Psychology. That is where she first showed interest in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program where she was part of the Keene State Bigs Club. “I was hoping to be matched at that time, but (un)fortunately there were far too many Big Sisters and not enough little ones. At least all the kids that wanted to be matched were,” she said.

Katherine at a Waitlist Activity with a child waiting to be matched. She was her "Big for the Day"

Katherine at a Waitlist Activity with a child waiting to be matched. She was her “Big for the Day”

Katherine started at BBBS of CM/MW as an Interview & Match Support Specialist for both our site based and community programs, so she knows the ins and outs of the agency firsthand, as well as the impact it has on both our mentors and mentees. When asked what she enjoys about working for BBBS of CM/MW, she said, “I genuinely believe in the work that we do at BBBS. While the impact can be big or small for the Little and/or Bigs, you can see the positive changes in a child through the simple act of mentoring. I love being able to interview and meet some incredibly talented, dedicated people. Being able to make matches and seeing the smiles on the Littles faces makes my heart melt every time!”

Katherine, Dawne and Stephanie testing out the STEM activity at Intel!

Katherine, Dawne and Stephanie testing out the STEM activity at Intel!

Katherine’s position also allows her to work with a team to coordinate several Waitlist and Match Activities throughout the year. The most recent activity featured our new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Initiative, where Bigs, Littles and kids waiting to be matched had a blast learning about circuits and the scientific method at Intel. Katherine and the other staff members had a blast too!

Some fun facts about Katherine? She has a personal goal to visit every MLB park in the league. So far, she’s been to about ten and has three different ones lined up for the 2015 season. “I’m not sure if I’ll ever have a reason to go to places like Detroit or Kansas City, but I can promise that if I do, I’m going to a ball game as well!” she says. Katherine also just recently got engaged to her boyfriend of five years, Ryan. Congratulations, Katherine and Ryan!

Katherine SpotlightKatherine is a dedicated member of our team and wholeheartedly believes in our mission. If you would like to learn more about the agency, our programs, would like to become a volunteer, Katherine Spotlight 3or enroll your child into our program, please email Katherine Ott at Katherine.Ott@bbbscm.org    Katherine Spotlight 6

2015 Annual Meeting Elects New Board Members, Awards Outstanding Volunteers

Dan M and John S Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass. / Metrowest held its Annual Meeting last week at Hanover Insurance Group.  The Annual Meeting was attended by 75+ dedicated supporters, Alumni, staff, Board Members, Corporators and guests.  Attendees were treated to a cocktail hour and appetizers presented by Hanover Insurance Group before the meeting.

“I am thrilled that many of our friends and supporters came to our Annual Meeting event,” said Jeffrey Chin, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest.   “It was a great way for us to come together as an organization to review our past year’s accomplishments, as well as unveil what are sure to be exciting plans for the year ahead.”

Tim Garvin, CEO of United Way of Central Mass., was the keynote speaker.  Mr. Garvin spoke about the value of mentoring and the powerful impact it has on the Central Massachusetts community.

Dan Mastrototaro of Jefferson, MA presided over the meeting. He is currently serving his first term as Chair of the agency’s Board of Directors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest also elected its slate of Officers for its Board of Directors for 2015. The new Officers for the agency, and their affiliations, are as follows:

  1. Board Chair: Dan Mastrototaro, of Jefferson – Mr. Mastrototaro is a Vice President at Hanover Insurance Group.
  2. Vice Chair: Chris Lucas, of Upton – Mr. Lucas is an executive at Netscout, Inc.
  3. Immediate Past Chair: Kelly Fitzgerald, of Shrewsbury – Ms. Fitzgerald is an executive for Bank of America
  4. Treasurer: Roy Angel, of Sterling – Mr. Angel is Vice President at MassDevelopment
  5. Secretary: Tucker Dulong, of Marlborough – Mr. Dulong is an Attorney for Catic

The agency also elected four new members to its Board of Directors: Tom O’Neill, Jonathan Ryan, Margaret Sullivan and Bill Sullivan, Jr.  A short biography of each new member is included below.

Tom O'neillTom O’Neill is a resident of Jefferson MA and is employed by The Hanover Insurance Group as a Director of Risk Solutions.  Mr. O’Neill has more than two decades of operational and management experience in youth services and the treatment of children with aggressive/reactive behaviors, learning disabilities and mental health diagnosis.

Jon RyanJonathan Ryan is a resident of Westborough MA and serves as The Director, Marketing Technology, for the Aberdeen Group, a Harte Hanks Company.  Mr. Ryan is involved in the community through his work with many nonprofits, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest, Inc. where he serves as a volunteer Big Brother. Mr. Ryan also volunteers for organizations and causes including VolunteerMatch, Pray for Matt Brown #3, Kiva, Walk for Hunger and Westborough Youth Lacrosse.

Margaret SullivanMargaret Sullivan is a resident of Hudson MA and is the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Avidia Bank.  Ms. Sullivan has been with Avidia Bank for 19 years.  In addition to being an active Big Sister, Ms. Sullivan supports many local nonprofit agencies and mission-driven causes, including Relay for Life, Meals on Wheels, The ADA Committee of Hudson and various within the Hudson School district.

William C. SullivanBill Sullivan, Jr. is a Worcester native.  He joined the Sullivan Group in 1989 and is currently a vice president and principal at the firm.  Mr. Sullivan brings over 26 years of experience in Casualty Insurance with particular interest in nonprofits and their insurance needs to BBBS of CM/MW.  He is active in civic organizations including the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, where he is a current Board Member and Chairman of the Properties Committee, and the Worcester Economic Club.

Additionally, the event featured two award presentations to members of the organization for outstanding achievements and contributions to the agency.

The Colleen O’Brien Memorial Award is given annually to a Board Member who exceeded expectations in their contributions to the agency. It is named in honor of Colleen O’Brien, who passed away six years ago after serving on the Big Brothers Big Sisters ofRoy Angel plaque Central Mass/Metrowest Board of Directors. This year’s recipient is Roy Angel, the Board’s Treasurer. Mr. Angel exemplified the giving spirit and determined passion exhibited by Colleen O’Brien, including raising thousands of dollars for the agency and providing key leadership during the agency’s recent history.

RJ and LS BrigitaThe Dr. H. Martin Deranian Fellowship Award is given annually to a Big Brother or Big Sister who exceeded expectations in their contributions to their mentee and to the agency. It is named in honor of Dr. H. Martin Deranian, the agency’s (and nation’s) longest serving Big Brother (50 years+). Dr. Deranian, who lives in Shrewsbury and still practices in Worcester, has been involved with the agency for over fifty years. This year’s Deranian Award recipient is Rebecca Joseph, of Worcester. Rebecca has been matched with her Little Sister Brigita since 2012.

More pictures from the event can be seen here. Congrats to all!

Successful National Mentoring Month Concludes

NMM BBBSA Logo National Mentoring Month Logo

This January, it was our mission here at BBBS of CM/MW to participate in National Mentoring Month as fully as possible by raising awareness of our agency. We had an exciting and fulfilling month!

Max after completing a painting project

In the beginning of January, we kicked off a new social media campaign to illustrate how far just a little support can go, whether that is support from a Big to a Little, the agency to a family in need, or a financial donor to the agency. We initiated a blog series of spotlights which highlights different aspects of our organization, from our programs to the corporations we work with to the wonderful kids eagerly waiting to be matched. We have been and will continue using #ALittleGoesALongWay to spread the word.

National Mentoring Month Thank YouJanuary 15th was National Thank Your Mentor Day. We encouraged our staff, volunteers, Littles, and surrounding community to all participate by thanking the people in their lives that have influenced them in a positive way.

mlk day of serviceJanuary 19th was Martin Luther King Day of Service. Our AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring participated by serving in Springfield with MLK Family Services, who put together an amazing show honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and mission.

ymd bbbs 1On January 22nd, many of our staff members attended Youth Mentoring Day at The State House, which is an event put on by Mass Mentoring Partnership and the Highland Street AmeriCorps Ambassadors of Mentoring. The event celebrated the power of relationships and allowed us to meet with our legislators in support of our mentoring mission.

Bruins game Thank you Charlie 2Throughout the month, many of our matches were able to attend various sports games as well. 13 of our matches were treated to a night out at a Bruins Game thanks to the Highland Street Foundation who provided tickets to the game, a chartered bus to and from the city, t-shirts, hats and food vouchers. A couple of our matches were also able to attend a Patriot’s playoff game thanks to Charlie Tillett.

We had an amazing National Mentoring Month and we thank everyone who helped to make it possible!

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Max is Looking for A Big Brother!

Max after completing a painting project

Max after completing a painting project

Meet Max.

He is an adventurous, outdoorsy, and science-loving 9 year old. He is also eagerly waiting to be matched with a Big Brother.

Max is a great kid who is up to try anything new. His favorite activities include skateboarding, playing video games, fishing, and especially playing out in the woods; exploring and building forts. Max loves anything to do with science. His favorite class is Chemistry (stay away from Math, though!) He also loves to build things with wood and try new electrical projects. Zombies, Medieval Warfare, Archery, Legos and anything Military also sparks his interest.

Max at the skate park!

Max at the skate park!

Max is looking for a Big Brother who is funny, can introduce him to new activities, and who he can talk to. He would love to go to the skate park, the science museum, and the arcade with his Big Brother.

Max was adopted when he was less than a year old by his mother, Karen, who is also his Cub Scouts Leader, Basketball Coach and Friend. The two of them are very close, but joke that they could use a little time away from each other. Karen would love a Big Brother for Max who can give him advice, bond with him, and most importantly who can have fun with him.

Max in his baseball uniform!

Max in his baseball uniform!

A Big Brother for Max would mean a great deal to both Max and his mother. To learn more about becoming a Big Brother, click here.

We can’t wait to find the perfect Big Brother for Max!

Corporation Spotlight: Unum

Unum_logo Not only is Unum a successful insurance group, charting the Fortune 500 list, but one that understands the value of giving back to the community. We, at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/MetroWest are grateful for our long-standing partnership with Unum.

Unum employees at 2014 Rodman Ride!

Unum employees at 2014 Rodman Ride!

Beginning in 2001, our partnership with Unum’s Worcester branch has grown immensely over the years.  Unum coordinates with us so that employees have the opportunity to participate in our Site-Based Program at Elm Park School and in our Community Match Programs. Maureen Griffin, an Unum employee, serves as a Board Member. Unum employees also form a team for Rodman Ride each year, captained by long-time mentors Dan and Linda Doyle. As a team, they usually raise around $10,000!

Unum Employees at 2014 Rodman Ride

Unum Employees at 2014 Rodman Ride

Not only does Unum provide us with amazing volunteers (about 30!), but they are also financially charitable. Each year, Unum usually gives close to $20,000 in program grants and sponsorship funds. Unum also sponsors several community events, including sending our matches to the Worcester Bravehearts’ and Worcester Sharks’ games!

Because of Unum’s commitment to giving back and promoting volunteering throughout the community, they were given the Deranian Award in 2010. This year’s Deranian Award will be given at our Annual Meeting January 29th.

We thank you Unum for your generous and continued support!

January is National Mentoring Month!

National Mentoring Month FB LogoJanuary 1st didn’t just mark the start of a new year, but it marked the beginning of National Mentoring Month, a campaign which celebrates mentoring and the positive effect it can have on young lives.

National Mentoring Month has three goals: To raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms, to recruit individuals to mentor, and to promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations to engage their constituents in mentoring.

Reasons to MentorTo help ensure these goals, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/MetroWest is joining the campaign. Help us reach our fullest potential by learning more about our organization at www.bbbscm.org, becoming a volunteer, and/or spreading the word!

There are several ways you can get involved this month, including participating in Thank Your Mentor Day on January 15th and Martin Luther King Day of Service on January 19th.

For a full list of planned events by one of our partners, Mass Mentoring Partnership, including Youth Mentoring Day at the State House, click here.

The Clothes in the Parking Lot – A Holiday Message from Jeff Chin, CEO of BBBS of CM/MW

Recently, I was walking to our Worcester office from the parking lot when I noticed a pile of clothes, an empty backpack, and various personal items strewn about the ground. It appeared as though someone had emptied a backpack full of items and tossed them haphazardly in search of something. While it was unclear if this was done purposefully by the owner of these items, or (more likely) done by someone who had taken the backpack and rummaged through the contents, the first thought that came to my mind was, “I hope this person has someone to help them.” The status of the person as either the perpetrator or victim was in some ways irrelevant. “I hope this person has someone to help them.”

Too often people in need are seen either as victims of poor circumstance, or perpetrators of ill-advised actions, or objects of pity. The truth, as always, is far more complicated and complex. The truth is everyone — regardless of race, gender, culture, religion, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background — needs someone to help them at some point in their life… especially according to the thousands of volunteers in our communities who step up to blog picture DEC2014serve others.

Everyone needs — everyone deserves – to have someone in their life who can help them navigate through life’s challenges, celebrate successes, and lend guidance and support. I have been so fortunate to have had several mentors and special people in my life to help me along my path. These people — many of whom I will see in person this holiday season to celebrate all that is positive in our lives — also taught me that everyone has something to give others — whether it is time, talent, or support.

After nearly twenty years as a clinical social worker, and several more as a volunteer U.S. Navy Reserve Officer, it is my belief that everyone also deserves an opportunity to fulfill their obligation to help others in whatever way they can — whether it is serving as a volunteer, offering support and mentorship, or helping someone who just had their backpack stolen. Or, better yet, help someone understand that there is a better way to get what you need than by stealing a backpack and leaving a pile of clothes in a parking lot.

Incidentally, when I was in middle school in Providence, RI, I once had my backpack stolen, with my personal items taken and destroyed. The anger and hurt I felt could have been channeled in some many different ways…but fortunately for me, I had an uncle who helped me understand that while I should always be prepared to defend and advocate for myself, I should also be prepared to understand that others may not be so fortunate to have a backpack full of items, or an understanding that taking from others is wrong and hurtful. My uncle impressed upon me that the most important thing I could do was learn that taking others’ backpacks hurt two people: the person you stole from, and myself.

ThrowbackThursday Hudson BG club 2004Mentoring and volunteering to help others seem to epitomize the sentiments promoted during the holiday season, and the values we want for all our children and our communities: let’s give ourselves to help others, so that two people are given an opportunity for growth, fulfillment, and support — and so there will be less piles of clothes found in parking lots.

Wishing all our friends, supporters, staff, volunteers, mentors, and families the most wonderful holiday season and the most wonderful New Year — THANK YOU for all that you do.

Forever in service,

Jeff

Community Supporter Highlight: Bill Toye, FedEx

Community Supporter Highlight:  Bill Toye, FedEx

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass / Metrowest (BBBS of CM/MW) we are honored to have dedicated community supporters of our programs who change children’s lives through their ongoing support and dedication.  Through their amazing generosity, these volunteers inspire all of us profoundly as well.

Bill Toye of FedEx and Jeff Chin, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of CM/MW unload the last bike to be raffled.

Bill Toye of FedEx and Jeff Chin, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of CM/MW unload the last bike to be raffled.

When Bill started working at FedEx in West Boylston over 14 years ago, he was invited to attend the Annual Big Brother Big Sister of Central Mass / Metrowest Holiday Party and help distribute several bikes that his fellow FedEx employees had personally purchased to give to BBBS of CM/MW children, many of whom have never owned their own bike before.  At the party he was asked to be a “Big for the Day” for an underprivileged boy named Tommy.  When Tommy was a lucky recipient of one of the bikes through the Annual Bike Raffle held at the party each year, Bill went outside with Tommy so that he could try out the bike.  When they both got outside, Tommy looked at Bill and told him he could take the first ride, since Bill “got him the bike.”

As Bill reflected on this episode with a wide grin, he noted, “From that moment I was hooked. I knew that I was going to be a part of this Holiday Party tradition of donating bikes for kids in need for a long, long time.”

A match pose for a picture with the new bike just won in the raffle.

A match pose for a picture with the new bike just won in the raffle.

Since meeting Tommy, Bill, with the help of his FedEx coworkers, his colleague, Karen Chamberlain, FedEx Senior Manager – Ground Operations, and his wife Christine, has raised money from friends, family and coworkers to donate 25-50 bikes to BBBS of CM/MW every December at the Annual Holiday Party.  Bill and his FedEx team have brought joy and wonder to hundreds of children through this annual gift of a free bike.  Although it is an incredibly busy time of year for FedEx employees, they take the time to ensure that every year the Holiday Party has plenty of bikes to raffle.

Bill is retiring from FedEx this year, so this will be his last year heading the bike raffle program. His coworkers at FedEx plan to continue the program, and although it will be difficult to fill Bill’s shoes, they are proud to continue being a part of bringing joy to children who truly need it.  All of us at BBBS of CM/MW want to say thank you to Bill and everyone at FedEx.  You inspire us, and you have made a BIG impact on the lives of our Littles!

The 28 winners of the bike raffle alongside their Bigs, Worcester Bravehearts' Jake the Lion and Bill Toye of FedEx

The 28 winners of the bike raffle alongside their Bigs, Worcester Bravehearts’ Jake the Lion and Bill Toye of FedEx

Program Spotlight: TJX and Cameron Middle School

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The highlights of this program?

Ice cream, bonding, and a peek into the corporate world.

The TJX/Cameron Middle School Program is one of our most unique site-based programs as it is held at TJX Headquarters in Framingham rather than at a school. This partnership allows the Littles to really get a sense of who their Bigs are as professionals, and for us to form a unique lasting partnership with TJX.

Dawne Dragonetti, Match Support Specialist and Coordinator for the program, explains a typical visit:

A match create beautiful arts & crafts together!

A match create beautiful arts & crafts together!

“I arrive at the school and the kids meet me in the office and we walk out to the bus for the 10 minute trip over to TJX Headquarters. The kids are always very excited. A lot of singing and talking happens on the way over to TJX. We check in at the security desk with our good friend Jerry, who mans the desk with a big welcome. He greets every Little and takes the time to ask them questions and find out what is going on with them. The Bigs then meet us in the Lobby and they all go their separate ways. Some go back to offices, some grab ice cream, and some hang in the Café and play games or do arts & crafts. After a fun-filled and educational hour or so, we all meet back down in the lobby and then take the bus back to the school … The bus ride home is filled with discussions about their time with their Bigs and plans for their next visit.”

Matches enjoy ice cream and toppings at the Holiday Party!

Matches enjoy ice cream and toppings at the Holiday Party!

We are very thankful for our partnership with TJX. The company provides the transportation to and from the Headquarters. They also supply the Littles with snacks each week and make it possible for us to throw a Holiday Party for the matches each year. This year’s Holiday Party was a big hit.  As Dawne describes it,

“TJX supplied ice cream with lots of toppings. They did some crafts, finished homework, and talked. A group of about 8 matches played several rounds of Spoons. It ended in hugs all around and wishes for a Merry Christmas”. 

A match poses for the camera at TJX Headquarters

A match poses for the camera at TJX Headquarters

One of the greatest perks of this program is the opportunity for the Littles to see inside the headquarters and get a taste of what it is like to work in a corporate office. Many of the Bigs are able to show their Littles their offices, which always leaves a lasting impression, especially if their Bigs are buyers. The Littles get the opportunity to preview some of the next season’s merchandise and even give their input!

This program also allows for the TJX employees to create a small community within the company as well. Though all of the Bigs work at TJX, they are from different departments and many had never met before.

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A match pose in the dining area of TJX Headquarters

Right now, there are 12 matches who meet up each week. 5 more Bigs and Littles are in the process of being matched. The TJX/Cameron Middle School Program, along with all of our Site-Based Programs, continues to grow. We are always looking for volunteers to expand our programs. To learn more about how you can get involved, click here.