For Nancy Muecke, involvement with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program has been a long-term time investment, from the time her children were little; her siblings have even gotten involved.
Muecke has been the CEO and executive director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa in Clive for about 2 1/2 years, she told Clive News.
"I was on the board in Wyoming when my kids were little. My sister is a serial Big, on her third Little, and my brother was a School-based Big in his first job after college," she said.
As the CEO and executive director, Muecke says she wears a lot of different hats, particularly when it comes to programs and funding.
"To have a strong program, you have to have good fundraising. To have good fundraising, you have to have strong programs," she said. "One doesn't exist without the other."
Her days are filled with marketing, visiting with Bigs, observing mentoring sessions, even returning pop cans for snack money for programs. "I take my turn," she said with a laugh. Her most important role though, she says is to make Big Brothers Big Sisters more visible and stronger. This means attending a variety of events, from Rotary and Chamber events to others. "We have to make sure that we're living our mission."
Adults who volunteer with the program are screened and carefully matched with a youth anywhere from the age of 5 to 18. The minimum time commitment is four hours a month, for a year, but it varies, based on the agreement between the Big, the Little's family and the participant. For many Bigs and Littles, as the pairs are called, this relationship lasts for years.
"These are relationships that can change lives. We encourage our pairs to meet outside their four walls, to play in the park, play Frisbee golf, go fishing, take a cooking class, take a dance class, or even read in the library," Muecke said.
By far her favorite part of the job is talking with the Littles who have been mentored for a bit and to year how their Big has impacted their lives, Muecke said.
She's currently planning for the 50th anniversary celebration of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa in 2018, and says that a big goal for 2018 as part of the celebration is to build an endowment that helps to fund the organization's mission for years to come.
When she's not working, or serving as a Big with her husband as a Big Family, Muecke said she loves to plan trips to St. Paul and to Seattle to see the couple's four grandchildren, to spend time with her dogs and to read.
To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, visit www.bbsia.org.