One word. Amazing. I’m known to use the word a lot. (My husband says a little too much.) But I hope it never becomes trite to others, because I honestly can’t think of a more fitting way to describe the extraordinary events and people surrounding Little Bit today.
In the last fiscal year, we experienced some of our biggest changes: a month-long move into our own building to accommodate exploding operations and a growing staff (now 19 strong); the adoption of four new schools representing 2,000 students; the launch of an Impact Campaign to help fund our Project Graduation initiative and office renovations that will foster greater efficiencies and cohesiveness; a partnership with an NFL star who shares our dedication to quality education for ALL and sees significant value in the model we’ve created; and new interest among individuals and large organizations alike who found an outlet for their desire to be the difference.
I also had the honor of representing Little Bit and St. Louis at the Ellis Island Medal of Honor ceremony in New York, an emotional, once-in-a-lifetime experience that I wish I could have shared with each of you. Surrounded by exceptional human beings and a message of sacrifice and hope for our future generations, especially those less fortunate, I was both humbled and proud of the work we are doing and the good that shines through all of our city’s challenges.
What am I most proud of? Being there. During the preceding school year, we reached 9,728 students; served 12,483 volunteer hours; delivered over 314,000 essential, sometimes urgent items PLUS 224,000 pounds of food; provided behavioral counseling, health and wellness intervention, new STEM programming…the list goes on. You can see the breadth of services delivered in our 2017-2018 Impact Report.
Unfortunately, this report doesn’t reflect what has not and will never change (no matter how much we grow) – the connections we make with each student served, whether it’s a word of praise or a friendship that endures from preschool through 5th grade. It also can’t capture the passion of the precious people that are the heartbeat of our organization, such as five-year veteran volunteers Carole Anderson and Kristin Kostecki – one who steadfastly shows up to perform any necessary job in the warehouse, the other a school representative at Walbridge Elementary who says she carries all of her kids close to her heart.
Thank you for contributing to one of our biggest years yet, for being the difference and for continuing the journey with us. You are amazing.
Rose Hanley, Executive Director and Co-Founder