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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Attention: Welcome Summer Picnic POSTPONED!

ATTENTION Bigs and Littles!



Unfortunately due to weather we have to POSTPONE our Welcome Summer Picnic that was scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) June 20th!  


Stay tuned for a new date from your Case Manager!


Please contact them with any questions.

True North Professional Development Session

Big Brothers Big Sisters Professional Development Opportunity!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at AcQua Restaurant & Banquet
2192 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY 14207
Registration – 7:30AM
Training – 8:00AM-9:30AM
$ 30 Early Bird (Through 5/24) / $40 Regular Registration
Click here to register!

Questions? Please Contact Ashley Griffin 716-873-5833 Ext 243 or agriffin@beafriend.org

Mentors Who Move the City Honoree Kennedy Colon

Kennedy Colon – Defender of Potential

Kennedy Colon is a graduating Senior at the University at Buffalo where she studies Civil Engineering and is the current President of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Collegiate Chapter. Through her affiliation with NSBE and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) she actively searches and engages in any form of volunteerism as a way to serve her community, if there is no opportunity present she will create one. Under Kennedy’s Leadership her NSBE Chapter has won the Chapter of the Fall 2018 Semester for Region 1 and most recently the Silver torch award for conducting the most technical events/outreach in the Region. For the Academic year 2018-2019 she has devoted her time to creating a pipeline in the City of Buffalo to increase awareness and the participation of students k-12 in STEM.

Being born and raised in Buffalo has fueled her passions and made her most effective. She has created partnerships with the Buffalo & Erie county Public Library located downtown, ISEP (Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership), and strengthened her chapters interactions with their NSBE Jr. Chapter located on UB South known as STEP . Before her term is over she hopes to further communications with NYGEARUP and Big Brother Big Sister in order to have a sound relationship for years to come.  To further extend the reach of this pipeline she has helped foster a relationship with a community center and developmental program known as Developing Roots In STEM (DRiS), located in the inner city which is known for hosting STEM Expos and mentoring events. NSBE has helped host the first of these Expo events this past October. In order to make sure this pipeline is strong on both ends, she has created a mentoring program within her society on a collegiate level and has taken on many of her general body members on as mentees. She has re-opened many programs within her society such as study nights, night outs, and soft/hard skill based workshops. Using these programs as her tools, she volunteers as a tutor, speaker and chaperone. 

To further uplift those who are sometimes over looked she has created an annual Award Ceremony entitled Black Engineering Excellence (B.E.E) Awards. Which is meant to honor and uplift those who need encouragement and often lack a solid support system. At this ceremony those who serve their community, support those around them, achieve academic success, are graduating and/or have exemplified the overall meaning of what it is to be a minority Engineer are honored.

Mentors Who Move the City Honoree Gregory Straus

Gregory Straus – Defender of Potential 

Greg Straus is the a Licensed Real Estate Broker at 716 Realty Group and co-founder of Redline Rentals of Buffalo, a high performance and luxury company. Starting from a young age, Greg was instilled with a sense of community and help for others. Greg’s father took care of all the neighbors growing up. Eventually, Greg took over care for those elderly neighbors and started his first business shoveling snow. Being a product of catholic schooling, he always found himself volunteering in some way.


Greg was moved to NYC after college for the local company he worked for and while he was there, he became a mentor to a young man named Joshua from Harlem, through a company-local school mentor program. Helping Joshua through 3 years of high school showed Greg that he can and should continue to help others. 


After 5 years, Greg knew it was time to go home and Buffalo was the place he wanted to build his future. Greg started his business with a longtime friend and two years later he decided to become a certified SCORE business mentor. Since then, Greg has mentored and presented to hundreds oflocal entrepreneurs to encourage them to achieve their dreams. Greg is also active with the Hertel Business Association and Elmwood Village Association. Greg has been recognized as Buffalo Business First 30 under 30 (2016), Who is Who in Residential Real Estate Award (2017-2018) and Premium Mortgage Top #100 Agent (2018).  Greg enjoys seeing his hard work yield results, not just for himself but for the 30+ people his businesses employ.

Mentors Who Move the City Honoree Tiffany Lewis

Tiffany Lewis – Defender of Potential 

Tiffany Lewis, is currently the Founder and CEO of Confident Girl Mentoring Program, Inc (CGMP). Nationally recognized as a best practice for mentoring by MENTOR, CGMP an elite 501(c)(3) non-profit mentoring organization that utilizes evidence-based interventions to improve self-efficacy in girls ages 7-19. As a strong leader in youth mentoring with a demonstrated history of advocating for youth, Tiffany provides advocacy efforts on Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Teen Dating Violence, Self-Esteem and Confidence.

Tiffany holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, a dual degree in Criminal Justice and Religious Studies, additional certifications from Harvard Graduate School of Education and is also a Licensed Esthetician certified in Clinical Oncology Esthetics.   Notably, Tiffany is the first African American female to receive this certification in Western New York.  In June 2014, she was selected to train in Washington, DC with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s personal Esthetician “JoElle Lee”, receiving another certificate in Dealing with Multicultural Skin. Tiffany has been featured in industry magazines, authored articles in local newspapers and a featured guest on tv and radio shows. Her preeminence in her field through her work with celebrities, professional athletes and world renowned artistic directors has afforded her to be a highly-regarded expert in the field of Esthetics.

Tiffany is no stranger to hard work, she volunteers her time by hosting many youth community events that provide mentoring services to over 1,000 girls. Some of her workshops include: The Self-Esteem Project, Youth Financial Literacy, Empowering Youth-M

ayor Byron Brown’s GameChangers, F.L.Y Workshop (First Love Yourself) and P.E.P Talk (Peers Educating Peers on Teen Dating Violence). She also volunteered with The American Cancer Society’s Look Good Feel Better Program, WNY Peace Center’s Women’s March and the NAACP Award Banquet. Through the work and her experience in community organizing, on October 20, 2018, Tiffany founded National Youth Confidence Day. Proclaimed by Mayor Byron Brown, Senator Tim Kennedy and the National Registry, the day will be recognized nationally every October 20th to celebrate the energy, spirit, and potential of young people everywhere. The day is an acknowledgment of all they will accomplish. Guidance, leadership and mentors will help light the path, and today’s youth will navigate the obstacles that will inevitably lay before them.

​Tiffany is a recipient of numerous distinguished awards and recognition for her contribution and commitment to leadership and mentoring services including a Congressional Record by Congressman Brian Higgins, Distinguished Honor as a 2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit Organizations by Perl Ni, CEO of Great Nonprofits, Buffalo Business First C-Level Executive Award, American Spa Magazine Mentor Finalist Award, NAACP Daniel R. Acker Community Service Award, Women Making History Trailblazer Award, Buffalo Business First Women of Influence Award, NYS Award for Public Policy-Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Volunteer of the Year Award-Community Service for the Developmentally Disabled, and Volunteer Appreciation Award- Buffalo Promise Neighborhood

Tiffany, a native of Memphis, TN moved to Buffalo at a young age. With the support of her family and friends, she continues to advocate, inspire and make a difference in the lives of youth by challenging them to pursue their aspirations and to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone, to open their minds to see that the world is much broader and more diverse than their community.

Mentors Who Move the City Honoree Ryan Taughrin

Ryan Taughrin – Defender of Potential 


Ryan Taughrin is the Assistant Director of Graduate Enrollment at the University at Buffalo’s College of Arts and Sciences. As a first-generation student who was raised by a single mom, and later adopted by loving parents of his best friend, Ryan tries to live every day working to pay it forward. From mentoring prospective undergraduate and graduate students, serving as a mentor in Big Brothers Big Sisters, to volunteering across Western New York with various non-profits, Ryan’s volunteering and mentoring mantra focuses on servant leadership and listening, more than speaking, whenever possible.


Organizations Ryan has volunteered and served in leadership positions include B Team Buffalo, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, Erie County Youth Board, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Buffalo, and the New York Graduate Admissions Professionals. He received his bachelor’s from SUNY Fredonia, and his Master’s in Higher Education from the University at Buffalo. He is currently working on his PhD. Ryan currently lives in Lancaster with his wife Holly, daughters Ainslee and Juliet, and puggle, Bruce. When not trying to “save the world before bedtime,” Ryan enjoys singing Disney songs with his family in their kitchen, collecting and listening to vinyl records, cheering on every Buffalo sports team, and getting involved in local politics.





Mentors Who Move the City Honoree Lauren Lewis

Lauren Lewis – Defender of Potential 


Lauren, a Partner at StaffBuffalo, a local women-owned, full-service professional staffing firm, combines her background in sales, her love of working with people, and her passion for WNY.  Lauren has a love for working with people and developing strong relationships, and she brings that enthusiasm and positivity into work every day.   Lauren works to help others reach their true and full potential through coaching people to find meaningful jobs, helping to build up companies through identifying exceptional employees, and through dedicated volunteer mentor work. Lauren is actively involved with Buffalo Prep, Child & Family Services, the local colleges, Buffalo Public Schools, and her Alma Mater, Nardin Academy. Through these organizations, Lauren works with students of all ages, providing Career Coaching, Mock Interviews, Resume and Networking Workshops, and Education and Career Presentations.

In addition, Lauren loves to give back to her community through volunteering with numerous organizations, serving on multiple Boards, and attending fundraisers frequently throughout Buffalo.  Lauren sits on the Ambassador Committee for Child & Family Services and was the Co-Chair for Child and Family Service’s Premier Fundraiser, Heartlight.  She is a Prep Collective Co-Chair for Buffalo Prep and has been a member of the planning committees for Buffalos Prep’s “Tailgate for Prep” and “Party for Prep”.  She is an active alumna of Nardin Academy and is the Alumni Chair for the Nardin Alumni Buffalo Chapter.  Lauren also serves as the Networking Chair on the Board of the Buffalo Niagara Human Resources Association.  Lauren is a proud resident in the City of Buffalo and she absolutely loves seeing the development and revitalization happening. 

Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to tour Mentors Who Move the City event on May 9th at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens to honor Defenders of Potential like Lauren!  Click here to purchase your ticket today!

Mentors Who Move the City Honorees Announced!

Announcing the 2019 Defenders of Potential Honorees

Kennedy Colon

Lauren Lewis 

Tiffany Lewis 

Gregory Straus

Ryan Taughrin

Get Your Tickets NOW!

Celebrate this year’s incredible honorees at Mentors Who Move the City  on Thursday, May 9, from 5:30-8:30 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens!

Tickets are only $40 and include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a swag bag and an opportunity to network and learn about local businesses. Click here to purchase your tickets!

Learn more about this year’s honorees on Mentors Who Move the City Mondays beginning Monday, April 1 by visiting our website or following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.  Each week will feature one of our remarkable honorees.

For more information about event sponsorship or vendor opportunities, click here or contact Ashley at agriffin@beafriend.org or (716) 873-5833, ext.243.

Join us to celebrate Mentors Who Move the City!

Join on us on Thursday, May 9th, 2019 with an evening filled with networking, shopping, food and drinks for our Mentors Who Move the City event at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens from 5:30 – 8:30 PM.  Tickets are $40 each and available now!  To purchase online click here!

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier (BBBS) is seeking nominations of MENTORS who are making a difference in WNY through mentoring to celebrate as “Defenders of Potential” at its Mentors Who Move the City Event.  Click here to submit your nominations, deadline for nominations is Friday, March 1, 2019.  To learn more about the event click here  

Big Things Begin Today…

Today marks a new day for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

We are reimagining our brand, from our look to our language. We are focused on an empowering message: Together, We Are Defenders of Potential.

Our new brand is urgent, inclusive, and powerful. We ask people of all ages and backgrounds to step up and ignite potential within every young person.

Check out our new look on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter and learn more about our reimagined brand by clicking here.

Together, let’s clear a path to a child’s biggest possible future.