In March we shared the story of Yuli, a young entrepreneur; we talked about her business (Yuli’s Happy Shop) and what she’s learned along the way. When we had conversations with her, we learned about her involvement in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MN (BBBS) and how that impacted her. So, we wanted to do a follow-up feature to talk about Yuli and her ‘big’, Kim, and how they support each other through this amazing, local program.
Kim & Yuli met about a year and a half ago through an elective class Yuli attended at SCSU every other week. “My teacher told me about BBBS and how to sign up for it; it sounded like a fun program, but I was having a hard time deciding to leave my AVID elective class because I thought I wouldn’t get to see or connect with Kim anymore. But then my mom asked if I wanted to join the BBBS program and have Kim as my Big and I was very excited!”
There are a lot of common passions Kim and Yuli share, “I actually was referred to do marketing work for BBBS, and loved their mission so much I knew I needed to be a Big! Little did I know I would be paired with Yuli, who herself is a marketing wiz for her own business. I feel we both have very creative, entrepreneurial, spirits. What’s especially incredible is that we are 17 years apart – but we are so much more alike than different. She may be my “Little,” but she’s BIG to me.”
Although learning to play Yahtzee and going to AirMax together are some of Yuli’s favorite ways to spend time with Kim, they’ve also bonded over her business. “When I first started Yuli’s Happy Shop, I showed Kim some of my products. She offered to make me a logo and I loved it! She’s helped with a lot of my branding – like my business cards, logo, and my thank you cards.”
“Yuli started her business all her own – she’s a go-getter! I was really happy to help make different marketing materials to support the great business she already started. I think some of my favorite hang-outs have been learning how to make her rainbow keychains! As a Big, I have the opportunity to be a mentor, but so far, Yuli has been the one teaching ME.”
And of course, we loved to hear how Kim thought BBBS is a great example of how #StCloudShines. “Anytime connections between different people – of different ages, genders, backgrounds, etc. – are made, the community grows stronger. Yuli is in my ‘circle’ now. My friends and client hear stories about her, they know about her business and have even made purchases. The more connections and relationships made by BBBS, the more St. Cloud will SHINE. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “I don’t have time to volunteer as a Big” – think again! I would classify myself as ‘extremely busy’ between being a mother and owning my own business. However, spending time with Yuli does not make me ‘busier,’ it actually helps me stop and slow down and remember to have fun in life. Her youthfulness and lively spirit gives me energy.
For more than 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota has made meaningful, professionally supported matches between Volunteers and youth. BBBS of Central MN serves youth between the ages of 5 and 21 across a five-county service area: Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, Morrison, and northern Wright County. You can learn more about their program at https://www.bigdefenders.org/