While the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan (BBBSMI) Fire & Ice event has gone virtual this year, the inspirational stories and exciting entertainment will still warm your heart from the chill of the December air. “It’s still a celebration of the community commitment to igniting potential and empowering resilience through mentoring, just in a different format,” said Kori Jock, director of fund development of BBBSMI. “We’re really excited to be trying something new and to still be gathering and celebrating the holiday season. Even in this funny year.”
The committee’s commitment to innovation, as well as sponsor dedication to the cause, has been instrumental to Fire & Ice continuing virtually this year. “Our committee is the machine that makes this event happen. They are a group of super-dedicated individuals who really decided it was worth trying something new,” said Kori. “Even though Fire & Ice will be a livestream event, it’s still a reason to celebrate and get us out of our normal routines—which is in the spirit of what Fire & Ice has always been and that feels really comforting.”
The livestream event, held Saturday, December 5 at 7:00 p.m., is available to everyone on this website to enjoy an inspiring program and entertainment from local talent. Join as an event sponsor, or purchase a mixology kit which includes all the ingredients for the Fire & Ice Signature Cocktail/Mocktail and follow along with the livestream’s lesson. Although the event promises to be fun and entertaining, Kori explained that her favorite part of the evening will be the stories of impact shared by the “Littles” impacted by the day-to-day programming. “The evening will be full of stories from young people telling about how mentoring has shaped their world,” said Kori. “Right now, when we’re all experiencing isolation and grief, one constant for the “Littles” and the mentees in our program has really been their Big as another touchstone in their lives.” In BBBSMI programming, mentors are known as “Bigs” and mentees are known as “Littles.”
As social distancing regulations continue to inhibit indoor events and a great deal of in-person mentorship, BBBSMI has worked to support both mentors, mentees, and families. In addition to developing virtual engagement opportunities to continue to help make the relationships between the “Bigs” and “Littles” as rich and meaningful as they were in person, the BBBSMI staff have provided support in all aspects of life.
“Our staff has really helped support families throughout the chaos,” said Kori. “We are making sure that our families could access the resources that they needed whether it was helping them find free food locally or computers, teaching Zoom to retirees, and making sure that our young people had the access and the support to stay connected.”
Although the future continues to be uncertain, BBBSMI is committed to working with mentors to ignite the potential of local youth. If you can’t tune into the Fire & Ice event, you can support the organization financially or by applying to serve as a “Big.”