Program manager says his favorite part of the job is seeing the Bigs and Littles meet for the first time.

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What do you do? I am a program manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, the largest mentoring organization in Washington state. I assist in supervising our team of match coordinators (who support the more than 750 matches currently in our program). I also directly coordinate our school-based mentoring program at Bailey Gatzert Elementary, which involves matching children in need of a positive 1:1 mentor with a Big Brother or Big Sister who visits them at school once per week.

How did you get that job? In college, I volunteered as a mentor to a child in a similar program to Big Brothers Big Sisters in Northern California. Once I graduated, I got a job working with the local school district there to coordinate a similar small mentoring program, and that experience prepared me well for working with BBBS after moving to Seattle — a much larger organization!

What’s a typical day like? I wish I could tell you! Currently, my time is split between providing support to our school-based mentoring programs (going to the schools, interviewing students so we can find the best mentor possible for them, introducing kids to their new Bigs) and being in the office providing support to our match-coordinator team and doing phone-based match support, amongst many other things that come up each day.

What’s the best part of the job? My favorite part of the job is seeing the Bigs and Littles meet for the first time. I love seeing the looks on the kids’ faces; they are usually a bit shy at first, but the excitement is clearly there! I also really enjoy hearing stories from our volunteers of the positive changes they see in the kids after they’ve been matched for a while — some of our pairs have been together for more than 10 years, and they’ve truly grown up together!

What surprises people about your job? I think most people are surprised to hear how many kids, families and volunteers we work with as an organization; in 2012 we will have served more than 1,200 matches! It wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of all of our amazing donors, who provide 100 percent of our funding.

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