Names can cause confusion.
One day this past summer, our United Way office received a call from a gentleman who wanted to confirm his airline reservation with us. We kindly redirected him to call “United Airlines” instead of “United Way of Southwest Colorado” and were slightly dismayed that he was not aware of our community work, but mostly amused with the humorous confusion. We have also been mistaken for a health insurance company.
The truth is that we are a local nonprofit leader that works collaboratively with many organizations to make lives better in our corner of the world.
It reminded me that sometimes, one of our nonprofit partners will be confused with another. This month, I want to share some distinctions between the two most frequently confused nonprofit partners with which we work: Boys & Girls Club of La Plata County and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado. Both names start with the letter “B.” Both are wonderful organizations that exist to help kids succeed. Both support kids during out-of-school time. These organizations simply approach that goal in different ways.
First, Boys & Girls Club of La Plata County provides a safe, facility-based program where kids can create positive friendships with kids and adults through a variety of activities focused on health, academics, creativity, character and leadership. The club provides a low-cost place to go after school and when school is out of session, where kids can have fun, grow and thrive. Club membership is only an amazing $15 per year.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado provides one-to-one mentoring for kids who can benefit from positive relationships with supportive adults. BBBS manages all of the background checks, mentor pairings and monitoring for the program to support both mentors (Big) and mentees (Little) to ensure the Littles receive the one-on-one support that can help them to navigate the challenges of school, peers and family life.
Both organizations have clearly demonstrated positive outcomes for the kids who participate. The positive experiences and relationships fostered in these programs lead to well-documented results. Students in both programs are more likely to show greater self-confidence, more likely to persist in school, more likely to perceive school as important, more likely to graduate high school, more likely to make healthy choices and are less likely to engage in problem behaviors.
So, how can you remember which is which? I have found that the word “club” helps me to remember that Boys & Girls Club is a physical place where kids do great things. Sign your kids up today! The word “Big” reminds me of those wonderful mentors who step up to make a lasting difference in the life of a child who needs that Big. Maybe you could be the next Big! It is a privilege to work with both of these fine organizations that change kids’ lives for the better.
When you support United Way of Southwest Colorado, you support fine programs like these. Thank you for Living United with us.
Lynn Urban is president/CEO of United Way of Southwest Colorado.