- Dr. Marvin Whitefield, CEO
- Liz Watson, Program Manager
- Abby Oddo, Grant and Special Programs Manager
How many employees work for BBBS?
Six (with over 90 volunteers).
When was BBBS established in the Toledo Region?
Established in 1937. Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs were operated independently in Toledo from 1937 to 1961. By January 1980, the programs had merged to become Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio. Our agency provides service consistent with the standards of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
What does BBBS do?
Our primary program provides year long, one-to-one mentoring for kids ages 7 to 18. Qualified adults are matched with a child and BBBSNWO provides training and match support in an ongoing basis. Other programs include Bigs in Badges which matches kids with law enforcement officers, Beyond School Walls which provides workforce exposure and training, as well as a variety of one-day events which bring our services to a larger segment of the community.
Tell us about your company culture.
All programming staff are professional social workers with at least a bachelor’s degree in the field. Each of us believes strongly in the mission of providing a mentor for any child who wants one.
What’s an interesting fact about your business most people don’t know?
Many people think the one-year commitment is difficult, but the average Big/Little match chooses to stay together for more than two and a half years.
What motivates you to jump out of bed in the morning?
The stories from our Bigs and Littles explaining the impact they have had on one another.
What business challenges keep you up at night?
There are over 80 Littles waiting for matches. We always need volunteers to step up to that challenge.
When you’re not working, where in the Toledo Region do you like to spend your time?
That depends on the time of year. Right now, it’s outside – probably on a bike or in the back yard. In the winter you would probably find us at one of the great restaurants all over the area.
Do you have any advice for new business owners?
Do your research and have a plan, but be ready to pivot off the plan when — not if — circumstances change.
What trends/insights are you finding in your field/market?
Virtual programming has been much more successful than we first thought. Although most people are eager to get back into the world, that virtual component is here to stay in some form.
What advice do you have to give to emerging talent in your field?
Remember to take time for you and your family. Social services is incredibly rewarding, but it can overwhelm you if you forget to step away and enjoy your own time.
Tell us about organizations/charities that you are passionate about.
Obviously, Big Brothers Big Sisters sits at the top of that list. We also work hard to foster trust and open communication with many groups such as the Lucas and Wood County Sheriff’s Departments, the Lucas County Mental Health Services Board, Lucas and Wood Children’s Services, and the United Way to name a few.