It All Starts Here
Who We Are
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin has been serving at-risk youth since 1976. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin is the gold standard in youth mentoring. By matching children with a positive role model, we are building stronger communities one relationship at a time.
Big Brothers Big Sisters serves children ages 6 through 14 that are struggling emotionally, socially, academically, and behaviorally. Currently, our service areas include: Marathon County, Abbotsford and the Merrill Area. Our School-Based Program serves the districts of: Abbotsford, Athens, D.C. Everest, Marathon, Merrill, Mosinee, and Wausau.
The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.
The vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin is that all children achieve success in life.
- Commitment to quality and safety
We are committed to one-to-one, safe and professionally supported mentoring with proven, measurable outcomes.
- Dedicated to serving at-risk youth
In a world of scarce resources, we will focus on youth receiving free/reduced lunch, in a single parent environment and/or who have a parent in the criminal justice system.
- Accountability to our stakeholders
We are committed to mutually beneficial relationships with our stakeholders and to building and funding our capacity for sustainable, quality growth.
- Focus on diversity
We will address our communities’ racial, ethnic and gender diversity in all aspects of how we operate.
- Culture of performance
We are a progressive organization that measures our impact and will recruit, build and retain the most effective team and Board.
Our Mentoring Works
Local research shows that positive relationships between youth and their mentors have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives. Youth served by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin children achieve remarkable outcomes:
- Confidence 84% 84%
- Competence 67% 67%
- Caring 72% 72%
Our founder Jim Hoops saw a need to establish a mentoring program to help the youth of our community. Jim formed a committee, and together they secured funding from private organizations, businesses and the United Way of Marathon County. On October 12, 1976 Jim’s dream became a reality. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marathon County was officially registered with the State of Wisconsin. Forty-three years later and many great things have happened. We are now known as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin and we have served thousands of children in a match relationship. The staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin still hold our founder’s values and inspirations to continue to serve our communities with honest dedication to our children, family, volunteers and supporters.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, religion, marital status, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation.
Meet Our Team
We, the staff of Big Brothers Big Sisters, together as a team, value integrity and positive relationships. We work collectively to make an impact on the lives of others and on our community through enthusiasm, compassion, and commitment to our mission.
Linda Koepke is the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin. She has been with the agency since 2002. Linda and her husband, who are empty-nesters, enjoy reading, fishing, snowmobiling, traveling and hanging out with their dogs: Jake & Sophie, and most importantly chasing their kids around the country.
Megan Belanger is our Program Director. She joined the agency in August 2018. Megan lives in Weston with her husband and son. Together, they enjoy cooking, spending time with family and friends, camping, traveling and hiking.
Enrollment & Match Support Specialist
Alyssa is an Enrollment & Match Support Specialist. She joined the agency in November of 2021. Alyssa graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a Bachelors of Science in Child, Life, and Family Studies. In her free time, she likes to play piano and drums, sing, perform in musicals, cook, go on walks, and enjoy time with family and friends.
Jill Rothrock Harke
Match Support Specialist
Jill Rothrock Harke is a community based Match Support Specialist. She previously worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin as a school based Enrollment and Match Support Specialist in the Merrill school district from 2017-2019 and is happy to be back in a similar role. In her free time, Jill enjoys traveling, spending time with her family on the East Coast and reading a good book and relaxing on a beach. But her biggest joy and passion is spending every minute that she can with her daughter before she heads off for college.
Enrollment & Match Support Specialist
Brinly is an Enrollment and Match Support Specialist. She joined the agency in March of 2022. Brinly graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Wellness. During her senior year at UWSP, she discovered a strong passion to work and advocate for youth. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, going to Church and any outdoor activity, such as hunting, shooting her bow, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and spending some time relaxing at the lake in the Northwoods.
Faith Swiechowski is an Enrollment & Match Support Specialist. She joined the agency in September 2021. Faith graduated from University of Wisconsin-Stout, she majored in Vocational Rehabilitation. She currently resides in her hometown Merrill. In her free time Faith enjoys spending time hiking with her dog, fishing, camping, photography, and spending time with her family.
Board Of Directors
Our board of directors consists of community leaders who share a passion for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin’s mission & vision.
Michael Heinrich | President
Church Mutual Insurance
Keri Anne Connaughty | Vice President
Nate Bartz | Secretary
Kevin Porter | Treasurer
Chandler Hunkins | Director
Wausau Country Club
Eric Anderson | Director
Alex Forer | Director
Larry Meyer Construction
Mary Hallgren| Director
Nicolet National Bank
Trina Knospe | Director
Merrill Area Public Schools
Derek Hoff | Director
Hoff Private Wealth
Equity Design Group
Samm Lewitzke | Director
Anna Meverden | Director
Mid-State Truck Service