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Leading in Central MA: Jeffrey Chin, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Monday, March 31, 2014

 

Jeffrey Chin, MSW, LCSW is the Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA/Metrowest (BBBSCM). Chin came to BBBSCM from Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services (SYFS) where he had served as executive director since 2004. He received his master’s degree in social work from Boston College. Chin became the manager/director at Wayside Youth & Family Support Network in Framingham before moving on to SYFS.

A Conversation with Jeffrey Chin

SW: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA/Metrowest has been in existence over 50 years. How is the organization similar or different today?

JC: We’ve come a long way since our modest beginnings! What started as an agency that helped seven local Worcester boys in need of mentors has grown to an agency that covers over 40 communities across Worcester and Middlesex Counties and serves over 1200+ at-risk children each year. While our reach and impact has grown, our mission has remained true to form because of its effectiveness: we match children in need of support with caring, responsible, and reliable volunteer mentors who make a BIG impact on that child’s life.

SW: What have you been working on in the past year since you have been CEO?

JC: This past year has certainly been exciting and full of activity. Aside from bolstering and enhancing our staff leadership team, we’ve been busy with our preparations to meet some new national standards in terms of our program and operational practices. While it has required a lot of resources, this process has inspired us to do more great work, as these standards place a specific emphasis on improving quality of services, training for our volunteers, and mentee development.

SW: You have recently created an initiative to reconnect former Little’s with the program and at the same time offer a unique networking opportunity for young professionals. Can you talk a bit about that?

JC: Well, this initiative is multi-faceted – first, as part of our National Organization’s ”REUNITE NOW” campaign, we’re encouraging all our former mentors (“BIGs”) and former mentees (“Littles”) to reconnect with us and each other to see the impact that mentoring can have. Secondly, we realized that we have a vast network of current and former “Bigs” who are passionate about our mission and want to help promote our agency in any way they can. With the help of some great young, ambitious, and local professionals who are either current or former Bigs, we formed an Alumni & Friends Association for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest. This group can help us recruit more mentors, promote the mission of the agency, and raise money/resources for our programs…all while doing fun networking and social events for our cause.

SW: What is on the drawing board for Big Brother Big Sister in 2014?

JC: We’ve just completed a Strategic Plan that helps to outline our next three years. Part of that Strategic Plan includes providing services to underserved populations and geographic areas within our service region, and finding ways to partner with more corporations and institutions to help us sustain our programs. We’re also eager to enhance our work with our volunteer mentors, as we realize that they are the backbone of what we do; understanding the impact that mentoring has on their Little, as well as on themselves, has been eye-opening and inspiring. We want to continually enhance our support and training for our Bigs.

SW: There seems to be a theme to support at-risk youth throughout your career. Is that something that you are passionate about?

JC: Absolutely! As a clinical social worker, I have dedicated much of my career to helping children, families, and communities thrive. Similar to most other professionals, I have experienced first-hand the power that mentoring can have on a young person. Everyone – repeat, *everyone* - needs someone in their life who encourages them, supports and challenges them, and believes in them so that can believe in themselves. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to make this a reality for kids in need every day.

SW: Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?

JC: I’ve been fortunate to have many wonderful mentors and influences on my life, both in my professional career as a social worker and in my “other” role as a commissioned U.S. Navy Reserve Officer. Each one has taught me something different and has been immeasurable valuable to my own development. If I had to pick one, I would say that my Uncle Kaboo – he was my first and most enduring mentor, as he taught me the value of honor and integrity, as well as the power within believing that we all can shape our own futures. With his help, I was the first in my family to graduate college.

SW: Do you have a favorite quote?

JC: Two, actually: “Fortune favors the bold.” And “Whether you believe in your heart that you can or can’t do something, you’re right.”

SW: What is the something that few people know about you?

JC: In college, one of my roommates was a professional clown and magician. On a dare, I learned to juggle knives and fire torches to help him practice his act.

SW: How do you spend your free time?

JC: I wish I had some! When I’m not working for BBBS or the US Navy, I love spending time with my biggest inspirations – the three most important women in my life: my wife, Beth, my daughter Sophie, and my dog, Nyah.

SW: How do you define success?

JC: When each day, each mission, each effort continues to be better than the last.

SW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

JC: Hopefully, in a seat that allows me to continue to help as many children and families in need as possible!

GoLocalWorcester presents Leading in Central Ma, a weekly profile of an outstanding community or business leader. Join us every Monday for an inspiring look at the careers and lifestyles of Central Massachusetts’s most influential citizens.

Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.

If you have suggestions for a profile, please email [email protected].
 

 

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