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January is National Mentor Month and while we have a team packed with mentors internally, we want to highlight a couple of our teammates that are mentors outside of the CTBK office. Two of our colleagues take the time to work closely with Big Brother Big Sister (BBBS) of Erie, Niagara & The Southern Tier to mentor a local child in need. BBBS’ mission is to “…create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.” For more than 45 years, BBBS has been pairing adults interested in mentoring with local children to build quality relationships that have a foundation of quality friendship and trust. This kind of bond and mentoring is proven to be a positive influence in a child’s life.
Kelly Hilbert, CPA, staff accountant and Kathryn Burke, CPA, senior accountant are both mentors, or “Bigs”, through BBBS. For nearly a year now, the two have worked with the organization, volunteering their time to mentor a child, also known as a “Little”, in need. Sessions last anywhere from a couple of hours to a half day and range in activities, choosing things that the Little would most enjoy and benefit from.
Kelly has been volunteering through BBBS since spring of 2020 working with one Little since summer. A few times a month, Kelly spends time with her Little doing things like hiking in WNY, visiting the zoo, and baking cookies for the holidays. Kelly said her favorite part about volunteering through BBBS is being able to grow a relationship with her Little. Kelly and her Little have built a bond, allowing them the opportunity to spend time doing different activities around the Buffalo region!
Kathryn has been volunteering for more than a year and has served as a mentor to one “Little” since summer. While volunteering through BBBS, Kathryn has involved her little in activities such as arts & crafts and going to the park. They also love to eat pizza together. Santa brought her Little a bike this past Christmas, so they’re both excited to go for rides together this upcoming summer. Kathryn first heard of BBBS through their gala a couple of years back, and her favorite part of being a Big is learning ways in which these big-little relationships positively impact the littles in the program.
While both Kelly and Kathryn had to have some lapses in time with their volunteering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both women have remained in contact with their littles and involved with BBBS as much as possible. Kelly and Kathryn are looking forward to future outings with their littles in the upcoming months.