by Dr. Billie Orr, Mayor Pro Tem and Councilwoman, City of Prescott
Did you know that 226 local children are waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister? To provide these vulnerable children with caring and much-needed adult mentors, a passionate group of female philanthropists formed the Women of Influence of Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters.
I was honored in the fall of 2017 to accept the position of honorary chairwoman of such a committed group of community leaders and business owners.
Our mission is straightforward: To inspire the collective passion of Women of Influence in our community to create positive life-changing relationships in the lives of children in need.
Since our inception, we’ve matched 80 children!
How are we getting it done? Our current members are reaching out to other women within their personal circles of influence and inviting them to come to our monthly gatherings and membership events.
Honestly, the energy, camaraderie, sisterhood and relationship-building among our members is contagious. We are thrilled with our growth and the potential for our children. But we are not stopping here.
Our goal is to reach into many areas of our community and provide our voices and assistance to groups that partner with YBBBS to serve our children. For example, in November we brought food for the Yavapai County Food Bank. In December, we adopted five families of our neediest Littles. Next up are snacks for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arizona.
The Women of Influence organization is all about our children. We want to give BIG, which stands for “beautifully,” “intentionally” and for the “good” of our children.
The leadership within the Women of Influence is simply amazing! Mandalay Homes co-owner and YBBBS Board Member Kristy Everson and Terra Sole Outdoor Designs co-owner Meghan McAnally, were our initial co-chairs who moved the initiative forward with great enthusiasm. I credit these two young professional business owners with creating our multigenerational and diverse membership. Today they are moving their focus to other young professional women by co-chairing the new Women of Influence Next Generation (WINGS), and I thank them for stepping up to the challenge.
Women of Influence has no shortage of dynamic leaders and now has YBBBS Board Member Rita Kavanaugh and Veronica Aguilera, YBBBS Board Member, Big Sister and a Private Banker VP with BBVA Compass, who stepped into the co-chair spots.
“Having been a Big three times, I know how wonderfully successful the mission is for the children and how my Littles have also blessed me. With the support of my family, we decided to invest intentionally, for a better future for our county’s children. I’m happy that I’m finally at a point in my life I can do this,” Aguilera said.
“It’s definitely the right time,” Kavanaugh said. “Watching the news shows about the Florida school shooter and hearing about disconnected or disenfranchised children really brought the importance of mentoring home to me. They say just one person can make a difference in a child’s life … there couldn’t be a better mission than that.”
Jodi Padgett, partner in Taylor & Padgett Financial Group, is the Exclusive Sponsor of Women of Influence, and is committed to the mission “because it truly is an amazing gathering of women who share the common desire of helping children in our community by seeking giving opportunities in multiple ways to those organizations who have an emphasis in making our community a better place.”
Another strong community supporter of the work of YBBBS, Cobham Aerospace, is the sponsor of the Wall of Honor, which will soon hang in the Prescott Resort & Conference Center to properly honor “Women in Leadership who create positive change in the lives of our community’s children.”
We invite you to join us and help us meet the goal of matching those 200 waiting Littles! Please feel free to reach out to me personally on my cell at 928-227-7477. Let’s have coffee and discuss how we can develop the relationships to keep our children safe, happy and healthy.