Wow! What a year it has been for Big Brothers Big Sisters here in Western North Carolina. Before I get too far into this, I want to say a BIG “Thank you” to everyone who works so hard to make this organization what it is.
To our Bigs, the backbone of our organization, thank you for loving your Littles unconditionally and supporting them through the chaotic year that we all had, be it the ending of our school-based activities due to school closure or due to our suspension of community-based traditional match gatherings due to social-distancing guidelines. Thank you.
Staff, thank you for supporting our Bigs and Littles during this time. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, I couldn’t be more honored to work with such amazing leaders, doers and advocates for young people. I’m constantly humbled by your willingness, drive, and passion to do what’s right in not only your communities, but our organization. My hat is off to you, always.
As Board Chair, I have the amazing opportunity to lead a diverse group of people from all walks of life across 10 incredibly distinct communities all across Western North Carolina. Throughout the year I had the opportunity to visit, meet with, and engage in conversations with many of them, and from that I learned something very valuable – there is not a “one-size fits all” model to engage this many communities, and that’s okay. There will be things coming over the next year that are still being worked out right now, but stay tuned, because I am excited.
Also over this year, I’d be ashamed if I did not mention our long-time leader of this organization, Mr. Robin Myer. As many of you know, Robin retired from Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC after 28 years and an additional six in Charlotte. That’s why the Board thought it necessary to successfully recommend that Gov. Cooper award Robin the second-highest civilian honor in the State of North Carolina, The Order of The Long Leaf Pine. Robin was more than deserving of that, and so much more.
I spent lots of time in Asheville this year to work on our transition with a new Executive Director who had core values of igniting and defending potential for the overall good, not just our organization, but also the distinct communities we served – Ms. Lelia Duncan, someone whose history speaks for itself, someone who fights for what’s right, even if it isn’t the popular opinion. Someone who believes in who we can be in the future.
It’s with the greatest delight and joy I share with you that I have been elected to serve as the Board Chair again this fiscal year because our work is not done yet, but just getting started.
Let’s keep igniting and defending potential – one child at a time. As a former Little, I’m a product of what it can do.
Dorian N. Palmer
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina