Meet Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s 1st Black CEO

Artis Stevens talks about the organization’s change and adjusting during the pandemic.
3:54 | 12/24/20

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Transcript for Meet Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s 1st Black CEO
Big brothers big sisters of America is the largest youth mentoring organization in the And now for the first time in its 116-year history, the nonprofit has named its first black CEO, and there he is with a smile on his face. Artis Stevens, my man, good to see you. I know you don't start officially until the beginning of the year, but I guess that smile on your face should be telling us a lot. What does this mean to have this role in an organization that's been around this long and has done so much for you to be taking the helm at this moment in time? What makes this so real for me is that I grew up like many of these kids, in a large family, didn't have a lot of resources, faced a lot of inequities in my community, but I was fortunate because my parents were true believers in that it takes a village to raise a child, so I had a network of mentors from diverse backgrounds that gave me the sense of belonging, a strong moral compass, and it also drove me to be the first in my family to graduate from college, and the village is why I'm here today. It's ensuring that every child has that opportunity, and that's what big brothers big sisters of America and local agencies on the ground do every day to help kids. Artis, you mentioned graduating from college. I got to say, you make all of us Georgia bulldogs proud. Go, dogs. I know we share -- Go, dogs. Yeah, we share that, and, you know, it is a beautiful thing that you are doing what you do and sharing it with this entire country, but why do you th has taken this long for this organization to have black leadership? It's never too late to have a first. It's never too late to break a barrier, and what I'm proud about big brothers big sisters is that I'm a face of the organization today, but this is what they've been doing for over 100 years. They've been serving young people. 70% of the young people that we serve are from communities of when you go down to the local levels, you have young people and staff and volunteers who are tive of the community and the demographics, so what I believe in is that when we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, it's okay to have a face. It's okay to have a leader, but you have to really speak to it in terms of the reflection of your mission, your practices, your policies, the work that you do, and this organization has stood strong on that for years. So how will this pandemic now change in part your mission, but also how you carry out that mission? I say change the mission a bit, because, quite frankly, the need could be greater at this time. We've had to adjust our ices, but ous remains the same, and that's to provide kids with the positive connections they need in an often disconnected world, and the moerful connection that local big brothers big sisters of America agencies create is the match. That's a match between what we call a big, a caring, positive adult, and a little, an inspired young person, and what our local agencies are doing, they're ensuring life-changing connections still happen on the ground, so in some cases, BIGS are delivering food to doorsteps of their little's families or even setting up mobile libraries and wi-fi hot spots to create educational access for kids. In other cases they're creating safe and socially distant one-on-one visits, but we know we need more, and to have more we need donors, you need volunteers, you need companies to invest financially and to give their time so that our frontline staff can serve more kids in the community. Artis Stevens, the next CEO of big brothers big sisters of America. Go, Artis, go, dogs. Thank you. Go, dogs, and, listen, please visit bbbs.org, and learn how you can support and how you can find out and, Amy and T.J., we're asking you guys to join with us too. So come on. Join the family. I love that call to action, Artis, thank you so much. The great work he's doing, the Georgia thing, I was this close to booing him. Oh, no, come on. I was this -- I'm a razorback, Artis. Sorry about that. Still bitter about that game. Huh? It never goes away, robach.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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