Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Becoming a Big

By: Colin Pampuch

My name is Colin Pampuch.  I was a Little growing up and I decided that it would be a good idea to pay my dues and become a Big. People always ask what being a Big entails. So, I decided to write a blog about exactly that.

Before you can become a Big you must attend a meeting that explains the program and guidelines This will help you decide if being a Big is right for you. The next step is deciding the right program for you. The community-based program allows you to spend time with your Little outside of their school hours and the school-based program allows you to visit your Little during school hours. After you make a decision, an employee of Big Brothers Big Sisters will meet with you to decide which Little will be the best match for you. Matching a Big with a Little doesn't happen over night. This part of the process can take awhile. Once you are matched, you are able to meet the Little and their parent(s) at Big Brothers Big Sisters with your match support coordinator. After this meeting you will finally decide if this Little is the right match for you. If so, then you are officially matched! You  can begin your journey as a Big.

As a Big I am able to help someone in need but my Little is also helping me. I have grown a lot since I started my journey as a Big. For me, hanging out with your Little is like hanging out with a younger sibling. Being a Big is fun but it does require responsibility. You have to make sure they do not get hurt, make sure they are not put in harm’s way, just as if they were your Little Brother.

I am a second generation Big and I am glad that I decided to carry on the torch. I know that being a Little helped me tremendously. If it wasn’t for my Big I don't know where I would be today. Being a Big is a lot of fun and it gives you the opportunity to make a difference. If you think being a Big is right for you, contact Big Brothers Big Sisters today! We are located at 15 6th Ave N, Saint Cloud, MN 56303 or visit our website.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Little Gets Big Help

My parents got divorced when I was six. I was to live with my parents 50/50. When I was with my mom it was my mom, sister and I. I was really into sports and my mom wasn’t so I never had someone to play ball with. My mom decided that it would be a good idea to get me involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I had my interview with them and within no time I had my Big, Joel. 

Joel was 23 years old, graduated from college and was working. He was my male companion when I was with my mom. He would always be willing to do stuff with me. There were times when he would cancel plans to be there with me even though he didn’t need to be. I could talk to him about anything. He would always give me good advice and would help me through my problems. We would hang out, watch sports, play sports, and sometimes go to sporting events. He treated me as if I was his little brother and not just an obligation. He was a big reason I am the man I am today. I was always getting into trouble but he would always talk to me about it as a brother and not a parent, which is what I needed. I can’t thank Big Brothers Big Sisters enough for Joel. I hope that every Little can have the experience I had.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Magic Moments Ball Recap

Memorable. Unforgettable. Fun. Entertaining. Inspirational. These are a few (inadequate) words that come to mind after experiencing the elegant evening that was the Big Brothers Big Sisters Magical Moments Ball.

Andy Imholte of Black Diamond Auctions put on a wonderful fundraising auction to start of the night.
Attendees were treated to a cocktail reception, a gourmet dinner, inspirational speeches (Shari and her little were unforgettable. John and his little were mesmerizing), fantastic entertainment (Thanks to Deuces Wild) and and enough laughs to last until next years event.

Thanks to the generosity of the Attendees and the Sponsors, tens of thousands of dollars were raised. This money will allow BBBS to continue matching Bigs with Littles. Our entire community is better off because of last nights event.

The entire staff of BBBS shouts a VERY LOUD THANK YOU to all the people and organizations who made last night possible.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota recently received a double honor.

Shari Wahlin of St. Cloud was named the Minnesota Big Sister of the Year. John Kokula of Sartell is the Minnesota Big Brother of the Year. Both are competing for the national Big Sister and Big Brother of the year.

This is the first time the agency has won both the state’s Big Sister and Big Brother awards.

“Both of them have gone above and beyond,” said Ann Matvick, program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota. “You don’t have to have grandiose events for your little. It’s just incorporating them into daily life.”

The two will compete against at least 51 other Big Brothers and Big Sisters from around the nation.

The national Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year awards will be announced in April. Winners and their littles will receive a trip in June to the 2012 Big Brothers Big Sisters Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., a visit to the White House and participation in national outreach initiatives.

“They have a great chance at the national competition,” Matvick said. “They have great stories.”

Wahlin and her little sister, Kirsten Skjonsby, who is also the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota Little Sister of the Year, will speak at the organization’s Magic Moments Ball. Kokula and his little brother, Morcelli Kombo, will greet guests at the ball.

It is the organization’s largest fundraiser, and will be 6-11 p.m. March 30 at St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center.

Big sister

Wahlin, 60, and Skjonsby, 17, of Duelm, have been matched for more than three years. They dined at a pizza joint in Foley one night. The duo talked about Skjonsby’s upcoming trip to Florida, how school is going and what they like on their pizza.

Skjonsby is in foster care. Her mother died in May 2011, after years of medical problems. Wahlin has watched the teen mature and become comfortable with herself.

“She has so much courage,” Wahlin said. “She’s been through so much. I marvel at how she’s gotten through it.”

Skjonsby credits Wahlin for always being supportive. They celebrated her acceptance this fall into St. Cloud State University. They discuss what Skjonsby could do with her life. She likes psychology. It’s her favorite class right now.

She spent a lot of time in a nursing home with her mother. Skjonsby watched how her mother’s face lit up when she would visit.

“All I know is that I want to help somebody,” she said. “It feels great when I can help someone.”

The possibilities for the teen are endless, Wahlin said. She feels proud for her little sister’s accomplishments.

Skjonsby just smiles shyly. She appreciates the praise and how Wahlin pushes her to excel.

Wahlin deserves this honor, she said.

“She’s perfect,” Skjonsby said. “With everything I’ve been through, I know Shari will be around no matter what.”

Big brother

Morcelli Kombo, a 17-year-old from St. Cloud, showed off his first sports coat on a Friday night at a coffee shop. His big brother of five years, John Kokula, bought it for him.

Kokula, 69, of Sartell watched Kombo develop into a young man who loves to learn and prides himself on manners.

“His mother has done a wonderful job raising this young man,” Kokula said.

They learn about the U.S. government and geography. They watch movies, shop at the mall and even sometimes go to church together.

The duo also like to cook together. Kombo dreams of becoming a chef. He recently made Kokula his chicken noodle soup. It tasted wonderful, Kokula said.

Kombo carefully explained how he made his soup. He doesn’t keep any ingredients secret. He wants others to be able to make his recipes.

“People need to eat,” Kombo said. “It’s a good skill to have in case you’re independent, and you don’t have someone to cook with.”

Kokula joined Big Brothers Big Sisters after his son survived a life-threatening car crash in 2007. He cared for Alex, now 24, and afterward wanted to thank people for helping him.

Kokula prayed to God about finding a way to give back.

He was pumping gas one day when he saw a Big Brothers Big Sisters advertisement.

“I made the call,” he said. “The rest is history.”

Source: http://www.sctimes.com/

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Magic Moments Ball 2012


The Magic Moments Ball is the major fund-raising event for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota. All proceeds from this magical event help fund Big Brothers Big Sister’s youth mentoring program benefiting at-risk children in central Minnesota.

This year's gala is scheduled for Friday, March 30, 2012 at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center (6–11 p.m.) and will include wine and beer tasting, hors d'oeuvres, an elegant gourmet dinner, a live auction, and entertainment by the Deuces Wild! Dueling Pianos, a piano variety act offering a Las Vegas-style show mix of comedy enticing extensive audience participation and featuring an unlikely and surprising mix of music and parodies.

To purchase tickets go to magicmomentsball.com or contact Sharon at 320-253-1616.

Click on the photo below here to view more pictures from last years Magic Moments Ball: