BBBS does a terrific job of matching people to form successful mentoring relationships. A huge part of this success can be attributed to the extensive interview process set up by the agency. One of the people involved in overseeing the interviews is Enrollment Supervisor Ellen Harsch.
“It’s all about quality. I’m not going to force a match,” Ellen said. “That’s not good for anybody.”
Consequently, Ellen and the enrollment team often spend close to an hour and a half getting to know potential Bigs and Littles. While it is certainly an in-depth interview, it is one that works to assess the compatibility of those involved.
“I approve all of the assessments made by our enrollment team,” Ellen explained. “I make sure that these assessments are professional, thorough, and that they include everything we require to make a strong match.”
Lining up all of these pieces can be involved as the team looks at geography – where the Big and Little live, their preferences in a match, their interests, and their personalities. Ellen has worked at BBBS for 9 years which gives her good insight into the process.
“I love hearing people’s stories. They are fascinating and encouraging,” Ellen added. “Sometimes it can be hard to hear what kids have been through, but then I’ll meet a Big with a similar story and I’ll see that they are thriving.” It inspires the team to know that a child who has had a rough start is succeeding.
One of the tough aspects of Ellen’s job is knowing that BBBS can’t serve everyone. “That’s really hard,” she said. “But I am learning to set boundaries, trying not to take work home as much and trying to take care of myself.”
Ellen uses her free time to read and cook. She has especially enjoyed a new kitchen appliance – the Instant Pot multi cooker. “Have you tried this? It’s amazing!” she exclaimed. “My husband and I are experimenting with one or two dishes a week.” She is also involved in her church, and enjoys spending time gardening.
In addition, Ellen not only talks the talk, she walks the walk of BBBS. Like a number of other employees, she is also a Big Sister. “It is so rewarding,” she said. “I believe in mentoring, and I get to see the process work both on the job and in my personal life as well.”