Bob Neely, a dedicated HeArts artist contributor, surprises Karen Dacey with a verbal tribute and gift at this year’s fundraiser closing.Karen Dacey is retiring Feb. 28 after 17 years as program coordinator for the Polk County branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina.
Dacey’s duties ask program coordinator will be shared by two new hires – Tamara Black and Audrey Kendrick, according to a recent announcement by Robin Myer, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina.
Dacey, the Polk County program coordinator since the branch was created in 2003, has helped almost 1,000 young people reach for their potential through one-on-one mentoring relationships, Myer said.
“Karen was an exemplary staff member in that she was always totally dedicated to the program and especially the children, families and the volunteer mentors,” Myer said. “She has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of the families and to help the Big Brothers and Big Sisters have the best possible volunteer experiences. Anyone who knows Karen knows that she lives and breathes Big Brothers Big Sisters!”
Dacey has done “an amazing job” advocating for children at Tryon Elementary School and providing them mentors who relate to their individual needs, according to Tamara Black, a school counselor there.
“Karen makes all of this possible through her continuous commitment and dedication to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization,” Black said. “It is because of her hard work that we here at Tryon Elementary understand and value the importance of such an incredible organization as Big Brothers Big Sisters. These mentors provide much needed time, guidance and direction for many youth in our community.”
“Karen Dacey is uniquely talented at matching Bigs and Littles, who then formed long and strong mentoring relationships because they were so well-suited,” said Elizabeth Nagler, president and CEO of Polk County Community Foundation. The foundation, a longtime supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, has provided substantial funding for the Polk County branch.
“Karen’s legacy is the many successful mentoring matches that she formed and nurtured over the years. We are grateful for her leadership in promoting mentoring in Polk County,” Nagler said.
The Polk County branch and the regional office in Asheville will miss Dacey’s dedication and leadership, Myer said.
“However, she is leaving the program in really good shape,” he said. “We have hired Tamara and Audrey to pick up where Karen left off – supporting strong mentoring relationships that help children in igniting their potential.”