Episode 113

full
Published on:

14th May 2024

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County with Jessica Barlament

This week on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz, I sit down with Jessica Barlament, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County. Jessica shares the impactful work of the organization, including the powerful mentorship programs that are changing the lives of at-risk youth in our community. We discuss their upcoming events like Golf for Kids' Sake on June 7th and the new family-friendly Putt Putt Palooza on August 10th. Tune in to learn how you can support these initiatives and help make a positive difference in Washington County.

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Transcript
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It was the Westin. It's a beautiful place. And if you're following along, I've been training for a 5K. My sister and I are doing the Cream Puff 5K at the end of June at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds. I've been doing pretty well. I've been training three times a week. It's been going well. So they had a casual 5K at the conference that I was at, and I decided to give it a shot.

I've never done it. I've been to the conference, I don't know, seven times over the last ten years, and I've never done the 5K. So I decided to do it this year. We were all told there was a hill, using finger quotes, on Mile 2. So, first mile was good. It was a little dry, but it was good. Second mile, started, turned a corner, slight incline.

I was like, what? Scott, you kind of oversold this hill, bud. And then I turned another corner, and it went straight up. Like, 200 feet, straight up. I was dying. But I didn't stop! And I got to the top, and then I saw the house Travis Kelce reportedly had rented for Taylor Swift. And then I jogged back down to the hotel.

3. 02 miles. So there we go. I jogged the whole way, didn't stop. Thank you. Applaud. Thank you. Thank you very much. Uh, I felt accomplished, actually. That was the first time I'd ever ran a whole three miles without stopping, uh, in my Adulthood, and I felt good about it. I've since done it again. So there we go.

Anywho, we're not here for that. We're here to talk about Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Washington County. This week, Jessica Barlamont joins me to talk about a number of great things going on with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County, including Golf for Kids Sake and Putt Putt Palooza. And with that, here are 15 minutes on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County with Jessica Barlamont.

On Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

All right, Jessica, could you please start by telling us the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County?

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They're staying outta trouble. We also hope that through mentorship, they're going to learn how to give back in their community by their mentor exposing them to new experiences and things that they can do to have a positive impact.

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So, she volunteers at a daycare center and she's also mentoring a child through her school district. Oh, wow. So, that's been positive and the big, of course, it's, it's pride that you feel I can speak as a former big sister. Mm hmm. That you just love to see the accomplishments of what the, the little can do.

You know, it's, it's kind of like your own kid when you're, you know, Mentoring and you see them getting a job or doing something that maybe is outside their comfort zone. You know, it's just that good feeling inside.

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Her little, she does stuff with all of them. And, and Natalie, I think just turned 30, so she's been with her for probably, Four or five years now, but she started as a young big, I would say, probably, in the grand scheme of things, but she is always glowing when she's talking about her. Little and the things that they did together, and she's watched, and she's watched her, uh, you know, grow up and become a teenager and all those kind of things, and it's the same way you lit up when you were speaking about your little, and she lights up when she speaks about hers.

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Um, yeah, so just always checking in and, you know, she doesn't have much time for me, but working two jobs and just really proud of the life that, you know, she's leading right now.

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So, those are just goals that the little might feel they need to accomplish, and it can be something as easy, I want to learn how to knit. We don't make it real difficult for them. Or I want to learn how to talk to people in public, or, so we review that annually with our matches. We also do surveys. We have a youth outcome survey.

where they kind of do self reporting on school and risky behaviors, things like that. And then a strength of relationship survey that just kind of monitors how do they feel about their big. If there's any red flags or, you know, low numbers, then our match support specialist will step in and just kind of see where the issue is.

Hopefully we can work that out and, and help that match, give them suggestions on how to build a bit of a stronger relationship.

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For kids that are in need of a mentor. And our mentors, we take them as young as 16 years old. So if you're a high school student and you're in Key Club, Honor Club, or something where you need volunteer hours, then you know, this is a great way to do that, plus having a great impact on a child. We have a variety of matches.

We can do a big brother, a big sister, a big couple, a big family. We have all different ways that you can spend time with the youth. And then besides that, we have community matches where you're out and about doing things in the community. Our agency also offers free or low cost activities. So, we have tons of activities if you look on our calendar on our website for our matches.

We have school based if you, and that's how my match started out. It was just once a week I'd go to school and have lunch with my little.

Play some games during recess, you know, and for me it was just to keep that consistency. fuzz. cc And then we have site based, we do partner with the Boys and Girls Club.

So, if a child is there after school, you can go to the site and, you know, have some fun with the kid, play some games, shoot some buckets.

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So for me, I was afraid I wasn't going to have that commitment level, so I did the school based because I knew every Monday I'm going to school at noon and I'm going to have lunch. And from there, it spawned, into being a community based match a couple years later. Sure. When I had a little bit more time on my hands as my kids got older.

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that little wanted to learn knitting it would be hey lets learn how to knit together

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Farmers markets, you can incorporate them any way into your life. I mean, we had a big family where, their little loved to clean house and she felt guilty. He would go to their house and he loved to vacuum and he would clean their house. So it doesn't have to be this phenomenal, huge thing for them to do.

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And, and for those who maybe want to get involved with one of those different programs, how do they get involved?

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Maybe just that love of new experiences or, having fun taking them out into the community and just doing some simple things. We also do. Quite an extensive, we do background check and references, things like that. So, being willing to, you know, follow through on that kind of stuff too.

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Are there any new initiatives or programs that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County has, either coming up or on the horizon?

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So we just had somebody from NAMI yesterday come into our agency and talk about mental health. We invited bigs, littles, and parents to that one. And then exercise, nutrition. So I know we have like a farmer's market planned. We're going to do a hike, things like that, just to make them aware of how they can have overall health.

Excellent. Yeah. So, that's one of our new ones that we're, we're kind of retooling at this point.

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So that was, So, I know how it goes, but you, you stuck it around.

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Include things like gold and silver sponsors. How do these kind of contributions support your programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters?

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You know, there's a lot of those little costs in there that, kind of help us.

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Yes. Alright, very good. I will link to that in the show notes, which are the little notes that accompany a podcast. And you click on the description and whatever podcast player you're listening to, or if you're listening to this on the website, It's the blog post on the website. So, again, that's Bowl, excuse me, Golf for Kids Sake, which is on June 7th.

That's a Friday, Friday, June 7th at the Washington County Golf Course. But that's not all. You have Putt Putt Palooza coming up on August 10th, right? Yes. Tell us about Putt Putt Palooza. This is a new event, right?

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So we are going to be at Stingers in West Bend for mini golf. That's more of my level of golf. And then we're just, um, trying out a new idea this year to get some families in the community involved, come on out and just have a good time. Our pricing is, Very reasonable, affordable, so families can come out and, you know, you can have five or six people golfing at a very reasonable cost.

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Mike and Dale were matched in:

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That this isn't just come in and mentor a kid for a year. You know, our goal is a lifelong relationship. I can personally speak what a great experience that is, and you know, it's picking up another friend in life. But Dale was a single parent, came from a single parent family, and he said it was great to have Mike in his life, because he could talk to Mike about maybe some awkward things that he didn't want to talk about with his mom, and that he, it was a trusted individual that, you know, he felt he could express his opinions and things with, and, you know.

I think it's just really, it's significant as to what our organization is about.

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Any other things that, you have coming up or anything that you'd like people to know about?

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Do I want to go on to college? Do I want to just go into the workforce right away? So we're always looking for businesses that would love to do tours for our kids. Our program and activities coordinator, Danny, Does that program. Sure. So we're always looking for tours of that. I Succeed, we also did a financial workshop with them.

We're looking at scholarship writing, but if there's anybody in the community that, you know, feels they have something they could offer our kids. And would want to come in and do a workshop with them, that would also be a great way to help us out.

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You can point him in the right direction. Jessica, thank you so much for coming on the show today and, thanks for all you do for the community and for helping those, people. Who are, you know, looking for a mentor to have that resource and, and for connecting community members, with other community members.

So thank you so much.

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So whatever you're on, just click the follow button, please, if you like it. And then you'll get it every time a new episode comes out, which happens on Tuesdays, all the episodes are also available at fifteenwithfuzz. com. And again, new episodes come out on Tuesdays. We've got another one for you next week, and I'll talk to you then right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

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Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz
Showcasing the positive things happening in Washington County, Wisconsin.
Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz is sheds light on all the great things going on in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. The host, Fuzz Martin, is a local business owner (EPIC Creative) and a former radio personality (92.5 WBWI - now Buzz Country). New episodes launch on Tuesday mornings. https://fifteenwithfuzz.com

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Fuzz Martin

Fuzz Martin is a partner and Chief Strategy Officer at EPIC Creative in West Bend, Wis.