Big Brothers Big Sisters continues to create and support one-to-one mentoring programs to empower the youth.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami serves the youth throughout Miami-Dade and Monroe counties through mentoring programs, the arts, career training and so much more. PHOTO: BY DUSAN JOVIC/UNSPLASH
Gale Nelson, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Miami, is committed to serving youth throughout Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. His goal to expand BBBS’ mentorship program focuses on digital literacy, health and wellness, the arts, academic enrichment and career training. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ framework has proven successful as 95% of youth attend college, 87% have improved academic performance and 94% demonstrated improved behavior after participating in the program. In light of the back-to-school season and BBBS Miami’s big plans for the upcoming year, we sat down to talk with him about BBBS Miami’s mentorship and work in the community.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF BBBS MIAMI
Tell us a little bit about BBBS and your role within the organization. Big Brothers Big Sisters was founded in 1904 by a court clerk who wanted to find an alternative way to help at-risk youth and maximize their potential. In 1958, BBBS Miami began operating and has served over 65,000 Littles since its inception.
BBBS Miami Littles visiting Wynwood Walls PHOTO: BY DEFY FILMS
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an international organization. What makes the Miami chapter unique? Through innovation and a strategic vision, we tap into the cultural richness and philanthropic passion of South Florida—which truly is like no other community in the United States or the world. Our mission is implemented through various components that work to engage our community. Our staff and board serve approximately 3,000 youth in Miami- Dade County annually. We prioritize corporate engagement through workplace mentoring, thought leadership and episodic mentoring, not to mention the Impact Circle, our young professionals’ network group that helps cultivate future leaders. The Miracle Society and Dreamakers enable Miami’s philanthropists to make multiyear impact investments. And finally, we host signature events, like our annual gala!
BBBS Miami Littles visit the Coral Gables fire department PHOTO: COURTESY OF BBBS MIAMI
What is your favorite element of BBBS?
The support from the community and corporate partners is always amazing to see, but I particularly love when Bigs (adult mentors) are matched with their Littles (youth mentees). It is awe-inspiring to watch two human beings, often from different worlds, come together and embark on the journey of mentorship. This journey brings as much value to the mentors as the mentees, and all lives are forever changed for the better. It is truly special to witness the relationship and bonds grow stronger over the years, and the Littles become Bigs when they are older. I am so grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to support the creation of these relationships, which are so positively and vital for both our youths and the community at large.
BBBS Miami President Gale Nelson. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BBBS MIAMI
Are there any new and exciting initiatives planned for the fall?
One of our most anticipated events of the year, Jazz at Joe’s, will take place on Oct. 18 at the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab. We will also be starting our expansion to the Florida Keys to serve even more youth throughout South Florida. 550 NW 42nd Ave., Miami, bbbsmiami.org
Photography by: PHOTO BY: Dusan Jovic/UNSPLASH