This September I will retire as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region. So many emotions: pride, sadness, concern, hope, and thankfulness all bundled into one.
Pride because we have come so far. The year I arrived we matched 154 kids. Last year we connected 1,159 kids in eleven counties with life-changing mentors. The budget to support those matches grew too, from $241,761 in 1999 to $1,727,500 last year. We bought and paid for our building, established an endowment that stands at nearly $800,000, and created a regional structure to support efforts in northern, western and southwestern New Mexico. Along the way we were recognized as national leaders in promoting diversity throughout our organization.
Sadness: this has been the job of a lifetime and it hurts my heart to leave. I came to Big Brothers Big Sisters at a challenging time in my personal history. Partnering with passionate and deeply committed board members, employees, Bigs and parents changed my life at the same time as we changed the lives of the kids we matched.
Concern because we stand at the edge of the next big leap forward. We’ve grown from small to mid-large to large agency. To fully transition we need new programs (we’re excited about workplace mentoring and matching kids through age 25), enhanced organizational configurations and more funds. I’m leaving a legacy gift to help but we’ll need your support too.
Hope because we’ve launched an extensive and well-coordinated search for my successor. New ideas, fresh energy, and deep commitment to changing kids’ lives will take BBBS Mountain Region to the next level. It’s time. Our kids need us more than ever.
Finally, I am thankful for all who have helped us come so far. You have been incredible.
I will miss you with all my heart.
Andrea Fisher Maril, CEO
Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region