KSBY Spot on Big Brothers Big Sisters

In case you have not seen this on the tv this month, here is a spot KSBY is running for Big Brothers Big Sisters.  As we wrap up National Mentoring Month, this is a reminder of why we do what we do – pass it along or contact Diane at 805.239.3534 to find out how you can volunteer!

Becoming a Big

niobe & katieThank YOU to Katie at Niner Wine Estates for not only becoming a Big Sister, but sharing her perspective with us for National Mentoring Month.

I was in the right place at the right time to become a Big Sister.  I had volunteered with the program during my High School years in my hometown, and was looking for a way to start donating my time locally. The winery I work for started getting involved with must! charities and I met newly-initiated Big Sister Becky who was a wonderful combination of “I was terrified to become a Big” and “this is the greatest thing I have pushed myself to do.” I was still scared of the concept, but reassured that the feeling was (at least semi) normal.

Fast forward four months and the time has flown. I have been a Big Sister to a (hilarious & talented) 13 year old girl, and while we are different people, our shared sense of humor and approach to the world means we spend a lot of time chatting and laughing. I’m absolutely thrown back into pre-teen years – our circumstances are different but the 8th grade struggles are the same: making friends who are your entire world, navigating the bullies, and trying to find what makes you different. Being a 13 year old is hard – I’m really happy I survived my own go at it.

For anyone out there even entertaining the idea of becoming a Big – do it. It’s going to push you out of your comfort zone and make you work, but at the end of the day you’ll be happy you did. We all could use a perspective change – it’s the best way to grow. With so many great kids out there just looking for someone to be there, you can switch up how you look at the world and learn to appreciate what you have.

The Gift of Giving

becky_grayIt’s easy to give money… at least for me it is. Not because I have a lot of money, but because it’s easier to just donate cash than to really sacrifice something more precious to me – as in my time. Now don’t get me wrong, I volunteer and give of my time through various channels once a week. Some are set times where I serve alongside my family and others are sporadic as needs pop up in the community. But giving of my time is and always will be one of the toughest decisions I make in my life… it’s the selfish side of me that keeps me from wanting to make these so called “time giving” commitments.

Then, I made the commitment to become a Big Sister. The thought was daunting for quite some time… I thought to myself, how can I find 6 hours of additional time each month, when I can’t even squeeze in all the other things I want or need to get done. (Personal honest confession… I am real, my life isn’t perfect, and I tend to instinctively be selfishly)

I have been a big sister for the past 6 months. I am appalled (with myself) that I even thought for one second that I couldn’t do it, or that I didn’t have the time to spare. I am so thankful that I took the leap of faith and made the commitment. My time with my little sister is AMAZING! This giving of myself and my time to invest in the life of a young 10 year old who just needs someone to be there for her and encourage her in life, has been one of the best gifts I have ever received. I know you are probably reading this and thinking – ya-ya, I’ve heard this before… (Trust me I’ve been in your shoes). But, it honestly has been an incredible gift to ME! (Yes, to me – I’m sure it is a gift to my little too, but here is my selfish “real” side being exposed yet again).

hellen kellerUpon diving into my relationship with my little, I had visions (and a few fears) of what was expected of me. For those of you who know me, know that I am a planner with a tiny bit of “type A” (ok…. Maybe a lot more than “tiny”) and I like to know what lies ahead. This however was a big mystery, one of which I had little control over. Big Brothers Big Sisters does such an amazing job of matching Bigs and Littles that everything has just happened naturally.

This experience has not only been a personal growing experience for me in the area of “letting go”, but it has shown me so much more (too much to write in this blog post). My little sister is pretty special, and the fact that she thinks I’m pretty special too is a cool feeling (You see,I have teenagers so when someone way younger than me thinks I’m cool that’s a gift in itself). We have such a great time when we are together. We aren’t big on grand adventures, but we just hang out. Whether it be helping her with homework, or doing art projects together. Pinterest, Starbucks, and Michaels Craft Store is our go to date…

Bottom line: There are kids who need us right here in our community. They don’t need much, they just need someone to be there for them, to listen to them, and encourage them. Take it from me… the gift you will get from this minimal investment is far greater than anything you could ever imagine. It’s time well spent. It’s time to take the leap of faith. GO…

Know a Potential Mentor? Send Them This Video…

January kicks off National Mentoring Month and what better way to commemorate the new year than to become a mentor…or kick start a friend to be a mentor.  Big Brothers Big Sisters needs mentors in the North County – there are kids waiting to be matched as we type.  Contact Diane at 805.239.3534 to see how just 6 hours a month can make a difference in the life of a child.

“Just Dive In!” Evan Vossler, Mentor

In honor of January’s National Mentoring Month, we will highlight a few of our mentors who work with must! charities partners.  We chit-chatted with Evan Vossler who works with Terry Hoage, founding member of must! charities:

image1 (2)Why Big Brothers Big Sisters – what made you make the call?

I had been curious about the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for quite some time after hearing about it through various sources. In particular, I knew that they were in need of quality male mentors in the north county. I went years thinking that it would be too much time and that my life was too busy as it was. Eventually I met a girl through a friend who worked for the SLO county office and she gave me the push I needed to make the commitment.

What do you like about being a Big Brother and is it what you thought you would like?

I like being a part of their family. And seeing the process of Grant growing up has been a blast. I also like the fact that I am getting valuable insight into what it will be like to be a father, without having the full time and financial commitment. Overall it has been less of a burden and way more rewarding than I had ever dreamed.

Is having a Little Brother a blast from the past to your own childhood? Are the struggles similar?

I give Big Brothers Big Sisters a lot of credit for setting up such a great match. It actually took close to three months while they found the perfect fit. Not only does he remind me a lot of myself at that age as far as interests, but he even looks like me too! I think that both of us were a little shy during that period and it is nice that I can help him through such an interesting phase for boys.

What is the most challenging part of being a Big Brother?

I would say the most challenging thing is finding creative “kid friendly” activities that fit into your and your little’s schedule. For example, I work in the hospitality industry and never get a weekend off, whereas Grant is in school and those would be great times to get together. We make it work.

What would you tell your best friend about becoming a mentor?

I would tell my friend to stop making excuses and just dive in. There are so many kids in need of good mentors in every county that it just makes sense. Giving back to my community has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.

Tablas Creek Vineyard Donates Over $7,000 to must! charities…Again!

One buck.  One bottle.  So incredibly simple.  And those bucks and bottles added up this year to $7,206 for must! charities thanks to our partners at Tablas Creek Vineyard.  Each year, during the month of December, for every bottle of wine that was sold in the tasting room, Tablas Creek donated $1 to must! charities.  Over the last several years, Tablas Creek Vineyard has infused over $30,000 directly into our community through must! charities project collaborators.

Through this program, Tablas Creek Vineyard is making a difference at the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County, Food Bank Coalition and CASA.  Together, we are creating sustainable change in the community we live and work.

2015 tablasJason Haas, Partner and General Manager at Tablas Creek says, ““It’s an honor to be able to support must! charities, an organization that supports such great causes in our community, and to see so many of those causes represented here today.  Working with must! allows us to have confidence that our donation is making a lasting difference in our community, and that the money we donate is being used efficiently and collectively.  We’re proud to be a partner.”

Let’s raise a glass of Tablas to Tablas and cheers to a partner who is making it look easy to do the right thing!

All About Events is All About Giving

must! charities sat down with Steven Herring, owner of All About Events in Paso Robles, to chat about his involvement with the organization.  For two years, Steven has been a partner of must! charities and has recently increased his involvement by joining our Partner Advisory Board.  The time and energy our IMG_3635partners invest in our community continues to astound us and Steven is no exception. And yes, that cutie pie pictured is Hudson, quite possibly a future Youth Board member!

The Central Coast is ripe with great causes, why did AAE choose to partner with must! charities?
I gained interest in helping with non-profits when I was about 26 years old. I have sat on the boards of a few different organizations through out the past few years. Once I heard about must! and the mission that they had, it really inspired me to get involved.

What motivates you to be philanthropic?
Being a father myself now, it has opened my eyes even more to how important it is to have positive role models in childrens’ lives. It is very important that every child has a chance to succeed and is given the OPPORTUNITY to do exactly that.

Why is giving back to the community important for your business?
Giving back to the community is more important to me as a individual and my personal gratification.  I am always striving to make a difference in in the local community and the little extra time that I have is what I can give back. I am very fortunate that All About Events is able to make financial contributions to must! and other non-profits.

In tot terms, how do you talk about philanthropy with Hudson?
He is still pretty young to understand so I have not had that conversation yet. But he will be introduced as soon as I think he can comprehend… (insert Kyle’s note here that she thinks he should apply for the must! charities Youth Board in 2026).

Where do you see All About Events in 10 years?
In 10 years I see AAE Holding true to our organizations values-  

T rust                  to be competent at our work and exhibit character in our relationships

E mpathy             to respect and personally care for one another

A ccountability      to say what we mean and do what we say

M otivation           to be enthusiastic while we work in order to motivate others to do the same

What are your company’s greatest strengths?
Our greatest strengths is the long term relationships that we build with the all of of clients. Every team member truly cares about all of the weddings and events we take part in and is dedicated to making sure everything goes flawless on our end. All of the team members and myself are born and raised right here in the area and want to ensure that we give back to the local community in anyway we can and the quality of inventory and customer service is how we do it through All About Events.

Steven embodies hard work, dedication, and giving back to the community and we are thrilled to have him involved in must! charities.  The same dedication can be seen a million times over each weekend in our region as All About Events serves weddings, corporate events, and festivals with top quality tenting, rentals and customer service.