It All Starts Here

Mentoring that makes a difference!

 

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:  Merrill, Wausau, Abbotsford, D.C. Everest, Mosinee & Marathon.

Our Mission:

The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Our Vision:

The vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin is that all children achieve success in life.

Guiding Principles

  • 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% of children served improved their level of confidence.

  • Competence 67%

67% of children served improved their level of competence.

  • Caring 72%

72% of children served improved their level of caring.

Our History

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.

Core Values

Mutual Respect We will treat everyone with the utmost respect at all times
Exceptional Service We will strive to have the absolute best customer service possible
Nurturing Relationships We will put the children and volunteers we serve at the center of all operations
Trustworthy We believe that trust is essential to serve our mission
Outcome Drive Everything that we do will be to provide the best possible outcome for the children we serve
Responsible We are responsible for the children we serve, our volunteers, our donors, and each other
Integrity We are committed to the highest standard of work and professionalism
Need Base We will work diligently for those that need our help the most
Grateful We are grateful to all who help us work towards our mission

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.

Jerry Lyon

Jerry Lyon

Executive Director

Jerry Lyon is the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin. He has been with the agency since April 2016. Jerry lives in Merrill with his wife, Molly, and children, Wyatt and Jacey. In his free time, he loves to watch his kids in their numerous activities, golf, and is an avid muskie fisherman.

Linda Koepke

Linda Koepke

Development Director

Linda Koepke is the Development Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin. She has been with the agency since 2002. Linda lives in Kronenwetter with her husband, children and two dogs. In her free time, she loves to spend time up-north with her family, read, and fish.

Beth Kohnert

Beth Kohnert

Program Director

Beth Kohnert is the Program Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin. She has been connected with the agency since being a Big Sister in high school, but became an employee in June of 2012. With her husband and three children, Beth enjoys watching Packer games, NASCAR races and driving her Studebaker.

Lexi Grzanna

Lexi Grzanna

Enrollment & Match Support Specialist - Merrill

Lexi Grzanna is the Merrill Enrollment & Match Support Specialist for BBBS of Northcentral Wisconsin since 2018. Lexi lives in Merrill where she enjoys camping, kayaking, watching/playing sports, walking her dogs, painting, and spending time with her fiancé, family, and friends.

Ellen Grod

Ellen Grod

Enrollment & Match Support Specialist - Abbotsford, Marathon, & Mosinee

Ellen Grod has been an Enrollment & Match Support Specialist for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin since 2016. Ellen lives in Kronenwetter with her husband. She has two married children and five grandchildren. Ellen’s interests include supporting her grandson in all his sports, reading, growing lots of garlic, feeding the birds and traveling. Favorite place to visit is Alaska where her daughter resides.

Bria Hahn

Bria Hahn

Enrollment & Match Support Specialist - D.C. Everest

Bria Hahn is the D.C. Everest Enrollment & Match Support Specialist. She has been with the agency since 2016. Bria lives in Rosholt with her fiancé and 3 dogs. She enjoys spending time outside, playing sports, and reading.

Megan Birkholz

Megan Birkholz

Enrollment & Match Support Specialist - Wausau

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.

Bob Lamovec | President
Office Enterprises, Inc.

Scott Jackman | Vice President
Eaton, John, Overbey & Jackman Law Firm, LLC.

Bob Heyman | Treasurer
Aqua Finance

Derek Hoff | Secretary
Northwestern Mutual Insurance

Eric Anderson | Director
Aspirus

Stewart L. Etten | Director
Ruder Ware

Michael Heinrich | Director
Church Mutual Insurance Company

Brian Hoover | Director
Greenheck Fan Corporation

Jeff Knusalla | Director
Equity Design Group

Mary Jo Lechner | Director
D.C. Everest School District

Charlie Sann | Director
Kocourek Subaru

Shawn Sukup | Director
CoVantage Credit Union

Travis White | Director
Complete Filtration

Ryan Begley | Student Representative
D.C. Everest School District

Your Questions Answered