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Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — For the tenth year in a row, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County (BBBSHC) has been recognized for its quality of service by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA). This time around, BBBSHC has been named a Gold Standard Award winner.

Every year, the BBBSA Nationwide Leadership Council, made up of local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency leaders and board members, selects agencies for excellence in the organization’s signature one-to-one youth-mentoring program. Out of 225 agencies across the country, BBBSHC is one of 26 organizations to receive this top honor.

The Gold Standard Award recognizes agencies that have increased their revenue and grown the number of mentors (‘bigs’) and youth (‘littles’) who are matched through the program, year over year. In the past year, BBBSHC has served approximately 300 youth and grown its local services by 10%.

“Awards like this are never a singular accomplishment. With a constant focus on program quality and on serving as many of our youth as possible, the BBBSHC team helped achieve a big win for the entire community,” said David Beturne, executive director of BBBSHC. “And of

course, we can’t take all the credit for this achievement. This award couldn’t have happened without the help of our generous donors and our amazing volunteers. Thank you so much to everyone who helped us to defend the potential in Hampden County youth.”

For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been dedicated to igniting potential for at-risk youth, making a lasting impact on the lives of young people. Today, the organization creates and supports one-to-one mentoring relationships, helping to build self-confidence and emotional well-being and empowering young people on a path to graduate with a plan for their futures and a mentor whose impact can last a lifetime.

“We are extremely proud to honor Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County this year. Their innovative efforts and actions are leading the way in which our Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies empower young people across the country,” BBBSA President and CEO Artis Stevens said. “We congratulate and thank these agencies for the outstanding work they do every day to support the life-changing mentorship matches they form and facilitate.”

The Gold Standard Award winners will be formally recognized at the 2023 Big Brothers Big Sisters Bigger Together National Conference, held June 26-29 in California.

Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County (BBBSHC) and four area restaurants partnered in December to raise money to support BBBSHC’s youth-mentoring programs.

The four restaurant partners were located throughout Hampden County and included Springfield’s Nadim’s Downtown Mediterranean Grill, Hampden’s La Cucina di Hampden House, Wilbraham’s Blue Elephant Restaurant, and Holyoke’s Delaney House.

Staff, board members, and volunteers from BBBSHC delivered close to 100 dinners to more than 40 donors during four Fridays in December. Participants chose from customized menus created specifically for the fundraiser.

BBBSHC Executive Director David Beturne formed the partnerships as a creative way to raise funds for his organization during a trying time that has seen revenues and staffing levels cut by more than half. BBBSHC captured 50% of the revenue, and the restaurant partners captured the remaining 50%. Between the fundraiser itself and a sponsorship from Freedom Credit Union, BBBSHC was able to pull in just over $7,000.

Beturne and the remaining staff at BBBSHC know their work of keeping children in Hampden County connected may look different at this time, but is even more important. There are 219 matches at the moment, with a handful of new matches looking forward to meeting for the first time in the coming weeks. One former pair still get together to bake Christmas cookies even though the ‘little’ is 22, showing just how lasting these connections can be. The staff at BBBSHC continues to keep children in Hampden County connected, even during a pandemic.