From a $6,000 Community Health Improvement Fund grant, to promotion of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Southwest Idaho’s recent mentor recruitment campaign, to a full table at the annual Magical Moments fundraiser, St. Luke’s is helping to make a big difference for at-risk youth in our community.
During National Mentoring Month in January, BBBS participated for the first time in a local recruitment campaign called 20 Bigs in 20 Days. Not only did they reach that goal, they well surpassed it with a total of 32 new mentors!
“Our recruitment effort included community partners and that really paid off,” said Olivia Sorensen, development director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho. “St. Luke’s Facebook posts and news story garnered a lot of attention, because they focused on personal stories about Bigs and Littles and what a difference mentors can make.”
BBBS staff members also visited local businesses during the recruitment campaign, explaining more about their organization and its impact on kids. An independent study has shown that after 18 months of spending time with their Bigs, Little Brothers and Little Sisters, compared to children not in the program, were:
St. Luke’s Community Health Improvement Fund grant is directed to the BBBS Mentoring Matters program. “St. Luke’s financial support means a lot to us,” said BBBS CEO Sarah Leeds of the $6,000 grant. “It goes a long way toward the operational costs of the application and interview process that helps us make good matches between Bigs and Littles.”
Sorensen agreed that a good fit is vital. “Our process is thorough and includes the prospective mentor, the child, and parents, so that we get a compatible match and a long-term relationship.” And the process works. “Many of our Bigs and Littles become a part of each other’s family. We have some relationships that span decades.”
“We are so proud to support Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said Theresa McLeod, St. Luke’s director of community relations. “St. Luke’s has the responsibility and privilege of having Idaho’s only children’s hospital, and we make it a priority to find opportunities to work hand-in-hand with our community partners to improve kids’ health and well-being.”
St. Luke’s also supports BBBS by providing tickets to local sporting and other events when possible, so that Bigs and Littles can enjoy time together doing something that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive for the Bigs. “The Steelheads, Stampede, and Broncos tickets are like gold,” said Sorensen. “As soon as we receive them from St. Luke’s and make an announcement, they’re gone. I don’t know who gets more excited, the Bigs or the Littles!”
And come May 12, St. Luke’s supporters will be gathered around a table at BBBS’s annual Magical Moments fundraising gala.
“It’s one of my favorite events of the year,” said McLeod. “Bigs and Littles share their impactful stories, which inspires community members’ support.”
While BBBS enjoys terrific community support and had a very successful recruitment campaign, “We always need additional mentors, because as soon as we make a match, another child signs up,” said Sorensen.
Are you mentoring material? If you have interest in becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister and can make a minimum one-year commitment, please call (208) 377-2552 or visit their website at www.bbbsidaho.org.
Visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho.
Read about St. Luke’s physician and employee connections with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Holly Miller formerly worked in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.