“I knew then I was working at a special place.”

Over the past 15 years, BBBSCI is proud to have provided 9,609 mentoring relationships to girls and boys in our community! To celebrate our past and look ahead to the future, we’ve asked some of the many people who’ve been a part of BBBSCI to reflect on their journey. Throughout January and February, we’re publishing blog posts written by staff, Board members, donors, and long-time supporters as they share in their own words why they’re proud to be a part of BBBSCI’s history.

Guest blogger: Annette Perry, BBBSCI Match Support Team Leader
Staff member since: January 2002

 

Annette Perry (left) receives the 2014 Charlie Brown Distinguished Staff Award from BBBSCI CEO Darcey Palmer-Shultz (right)
Annette Perry (left) receives the 2014 Charlie Brown Distinguished Staff Award from BBBSCI CEO Darcey Palmer-Shultz (right)

“Fifteen years ago I began my journey at BBBSCI.  It does not seem possible that so much time has passed (I still look 26, right?), but the years have provided many special memories for me.  I would like to take this opportunity, in celebration of 15 years, to share a few of my favorite moments.

My first day at BBBSCI, I attended a staff meeting held at the Big Sisters office in the English Foundation Building.  The meeting began with everyone in the room saying what accomplishment they were most proud of at the agency.  After everyone shared, we cheered for each other’s successes and what noise we made!  Then, we were each given a handmade, individualized bookmark to remind us of this moment and to “mark” successes on a continued basis.  This was all new to me, as I had never been in a meeting with such energy and support.  I knew then that I was working at a special place where positivity, the agency’s mission and staff were deeply valued.

Another memory that stands out is when the two agencies merged and (Big Brothers was in the Julia Carson Building and as mentioned above, Big Sisters was in the English Foundation Building) moved into the Indianapolis Life Building, now known as Brougher Plaza.  Moving day was hectic, hot (ummm….. whose idea was it to move on what seemed the hottest day of the year?) and tiring but full of fun.  I was part of a team assigned to the basement storage unit to build shelves.  After much reading, or should I say interpreting, of the vague assembly instructions, we built the shelves with a few inspiring modifications and to my astonishment they are still standing to this day (pat on the back)!  This reminds me of the old adage you know a relationship will last if the couple survives hanging wallpaper together.  Same thing with co-workers and building shelves – we didn’t have the best guide, but we talked, problem solved, laughed, and completed the task.  We learned a lot about each other that day and this strengthened how we worked as a team and agency.

As the years progressed, I had the privilege of meeting and working with many talented individuals in the community.  Little did I know that while I was

Annette poses with a Little Sister Rochelle
Annette poses with her Little Sister Rochelle. The two were matched in 2006 and graduated from the BBBSCI program in 2015.

trying to make an impact on the community, the community of Bigs, Littles and their families was making an impact on me.  For example, I will never forget all the advice I received those years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter.  Everyone had something to share, whether it was about eating habits while pregnant (avoid salt, pork, Coca Cola and A1 sauce?) or how to best raise a daughter to be strong yet not spoiled.  I accepted all this free flowing advice gladly and to this day, I still have matches ask me about my daughter and how “our girl” is doing!  This true investment in each other shows how much community can be built with positive interactions, conversations, and a listening ear.  I am a better person, mother, friend, and worker because of all the many people I have been blessed to get to know by opening up my life as they welcomed me into theirs.

As I look ahead to the future and the next 15 years, I see many fabulous things on the horizon.  I see BBBSCI continuing the excellent work in youth mentoring and the positive impact we have on the community.  Here is to another 15 years (and Botox if I plan to stay looking 26)!”

Annette Perry with former BBBSCI staff member Jon Carolin have fun at a Match Anniversary party in 2013
Annette Perry and former BBBSCI staff member Jon Carolin have fun at a Match Anniversary party in 2013
Annette Perry enjoys a team outing with the rest of the BBBSCI Match Support department in 2016
Annette Perry enjoys a team outing with the rest of the BBBSCI Match Support department in 2016

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