IMG_0072Since March 8th is International Women’s Day, we thought it was appropriate to take a look at some of the amazing women in our lives who make our work supporting children and their families possible. One of the first people who comes to mind is Kelly Micetich.

Kelly is an outstanding individual whose passion and commitment to our kids and our community is the focus of both her personal and professional life. Over the past 20 years Kelly has demonstrated exemplary leadership and service to Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area, and in doing so has enhanced the quality of life for nearly 5,000 children and youth each year.

Kelly first met our executive director when she was working as a consultant for Strathcona County to develop a community mentorship program for youth. She was certified as a trainer for trainers with the Canadian Community Mentorship Strategy and her affinity for mentoring was obvious from the start. Without hesitation she joined our Board of Directors where she has served as a member of both our Governance and Strategic Planning Committees. Kelly was the President of our Board for three years, and continues providing her guidance as Past President today.

In 2011, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton amalgamated with Boys & Girls Clubs of Edmonton, and Kelly was a vital member of the committee that oversaw that complicated and important transition. She helped ensure that all of our Board and Staff remained focused on the mission – providing the best possible services to kids and families. She helped us separate our respective “turfs” and see the major changes through the lens of what’s best for the kids. It took an incredible amount of time and energy for our Board, and Kelly’s voice, passion and logic were integral to making the change so successful.

In talking to Kelly it’s easy to see the love she has for kids. Her very first job was as a playground leader at the age of 16 and perhaps that’s what set the trajectory for so much of her personal and professional life. She believes that it’s important for adults to care about all kids, not just their own. She’s lead our organization, and the others that she’s worked with, to be creative and innovative in finding new ways to support young lives.

Throughout the years, Kelly’s relationship with our organization has deepened, and her impact extends far past just us. She makes time to volunteer with International Social Services, she serves Christmas Dinner at the Mustard Seed, and she’s sat on a Parent Advisory Council for over 10 years. And those are just the recent examples. Her past volunteer contributions include the Rainbows Program, the Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Communities, and the Zebra Centre. Not to mention multiple organizations in other provinces.

One project in particular has had immeasurable impact on our city. Kelly was hired as the project manager for the Edmonton Urban Games – a collaborative, collective effort of 30 youth serving organizations.  It was a unique project where a group of nine at-risk youth planned, promoted, and staged a two day public festival. Kelly facilitated the project with two staff to reintegrate high risk youth into mainstream society and it included dozens of mentors, including Kelly herself. Challenging stereotypes and creating an inclusive community were key outcomes of the project.  Many of the participants overcame barriers to social integration and interacted with peace officers and police in new ways and people who attended said the festival helped to open minds and overcome stereotypes. The Mayor of Edmonton at the time, Stephen Mandel, said the project “made our city a better place to live.”

But Kelly isn’t content to do just her job. She always strives to go above and beyond. Stephen was one of the youth who participated in the Urban Games and Kelly mentored him throughout the project. Today, Kelly has made Stephen and his siblings a part of her family. They go to Kelly’s home for holiday meals and she’s been a constant in Stephen’s life.

Stephen tells us that when he met Kelly he was 15 years old and living in a negative foster home. “Kelly helped mentor me into changing my attitude towards that placement. Positive thinking leads to positive outcomes. Through time and consistency she gained my trust and I gained hers. When the project came to an end Kelly remained my adult female role model. I know that Kelly currently has, and will always have my back.”

Kelly is a woman of incredible heart. It doesn’t matter what she’s doing (on vacation) or where she is (in another country), she makes time for us and for our community’s kids. Kelly knows that children are the foundation of our community; she’s devoted her life to ensuring we are constantly finding new and innovative ways to support them so they can be successful. She’s had a huge hand in helping us develop the next generation of young people who will continue to care for and develop this city we love.

We are so grateful for Kelly and the other women like her who are supporting our kids!

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