Grant Blindbury, a partner at FMB Wealth Management in Westlake Village, Calif., is grateful for the attention Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County (BBSVC) received when he was honored as a finalist for the Invest in Others Awards in 2011.
“The exposure and recognition I received personally from the IIO event provided me platforms to share my story that would have never been afforded to me otherwise. My personal story has been my most powerful tool in attracting resources for Big Brothers Big Sisters,” he explained.
During his senior year at UCLA, Grant became a Big Brother to an eight-year-old inner-city boy named DJ. Today, Grant is still actively involved. “While continuing to mentor my Little, who’s not so little anymore, I am also serving my ninth year on our board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County,” said Grant.
Grant and DJ’s close relationship continues to this day, 17 years after their first meeting. Their relationship has come full circle as both of them now have children of their own. While DJ played football for a college in another state, Grant was able to take his son, Daniel, to DJ’s football matches in Southern California. “To Daniel, then just a toddler, DJ was a real-life superhero,” Grant explained. Today, DJ is 25 and working towards becoming a physical therapist.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County was able to use the funds received from Invest in Others to match four children off the waiting list with mentors. “These four children have now been able to receive over five years of life-changing impact from their Bigs and are on dramatically better courses in life because of it,” Grant shared. Local media reported on the award from Invest in Others and Grant was able to leverage this to get the contribution matched. On the heels of the recession, this was a significant help.
BBSVC is expected to continue to expand its impact. Grant explained, “we’ve continued to improve our performance and financial metrics year over year and steadily rise into the top few Big Brothers organizations in the country.” This has enabled the organization to introduce new programs, including a high school peer-to-peer program and school-based mentoring, where high school volunteers are paired with elementary school students.
As for Grant, he never thought Big Brothers Big Sisters would have such a lasting impact on his life. “It’s hard to believe that DJ got more out of this experience than I did,” he noted. “I’m a better father myself because of the opportunity I had to mentor this young man.”