Phil Knight spent 9½ years in east Africa helping to better communities, but has since come back to better his own. As the Executive Director for Michigan’s Capital Region Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, Knight is investing his life in giving new opportunities to “at-risk” youth.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about working with the BBBS organization?
A: Seeing a child overcome varied “at-risk” factors and become a positive, productive member of society. It doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference. When you choose to be a mentor you don’t need a college degree, you don’t need a lot of preparation, because what you’re doing as a mentor is giving a little piece of yourself to that child, your character and your values. You invest yourself in that child to help them discover opportunities and ideas they never dreamed possible for themselves.
Q: What do you want the community to know about Big Brothers Big Sisters? A: How much impact we have on the lives of the children we serve. Of the children we help, 90 percent of them achieve higher levels of education, 90 percent say their Big brought stability to their life and 77 percent volunteer in civic or religious aspects as adults. We are always looking for M&Ms (Mentors and Money) to help meet the needs of the children we serve. Q: What do you hope your children have learned from your experiences? A: My hope would center around them finding success but more importantly finding a measure of significance in their lives. Doing something in life that lasts longer than we do. I feel that this is a great place to invest this portion of my life; too many people spend their lives, when we really need more people to invest their lives in something.
Ami Iceman-Hauter is the Brand Manager at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. Iceman is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelors degree in creative advertising.