When I first joined YoPro, it was “the group formerly-known as the Big-Little Connection,” then the “Young Leaders Team” and then…it didn’t even have a name let alone a mission. BLC’s founding members were mid-career professionals who’d long since moved on (some of them to positions of leadership at JBBBS and elsewhere in the Jewish community). We were young professionals sitting around a table talking about ways to recruit our peers to volunteer, brainstorming ways to fundraise around a cause we support and trying to pick up where they left off. We had little structure and even less credibility as a group that might have influence over the organization and make a name for ourselves in the Greater Boston community. We had good ideas but lacked real support to implement them.
Fast forward two years…
With support from Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters’ staff and Board of Directors, and motivated by a desire to network with, learn from, and connect to other young professionals active in JBBBS, not only do we have a name but also YoPro’s made a name for itself. We are a community of volunteers, donors, leaders, friends. The YoPro Board is focused on increasing the volunteer and donor bases and growing networking and leadership opportunities.
JBBBS’ management team and the Board of Directors took a risk with us and it has really paid off. We have now hosted two major (and much sought-out) Gala after-parties, have increased participation in the Rodman Ride for Kids and have seen interest in YoPro events and membership skyrocket. As representatives of such an amazing organization, we are able to work with our peers to help further the agenda of a place that means so much to us. We are able to use our skills and interests as we network and connect with each other.
The agency has shifted its priorities when it comes to young adults and is thinking strategically as it focuses on the next generation of agency leadership. With JBBBS in its 95th year, it has become abundantly clear that the YoPros are a valuable asset and a critical resource for the continued growth of the agency. We are being mentored by the very agency that we chose to be a part of so that we ourselves could mentor. Our hard work was worth it, and the growth of the YoPro community has been astounding.
I only hope more young professionals take advantage of the opportunity to join us in our work and our fun!
Lisa Kessel is the one of the Leaders of the YoPro Board. In addition to being involved with YoPro, Lisa is a volunteer in the MAGIC program.
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