Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County welcomes new CEO
Thomas Kline recently took on the job of chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County, Inc. (By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer / February 1, 2013)
Kline has been on the job since late December, taking over from Phil Bennett.
“I was inspired to take this job because I admire the work that BBBS does throughout the county,” Kline said.
The job “offers a new challenge. This position gives me an opportunity to learn new things and to work for a well established nonprofit with a mission I believe in,” Kline said. “Our goals over the next 18 months are focused on mentor recruitment to encourage mentors or ‘bigs’ into three different programs that we run at BBBS.”
Kline came to the agency from the Washington County Office of Community Grant Management, where he worked with the Local Management Board (LMB) for more than nine years, most recently as the LMB manager.
He is also a graduate of the XXII class of Leadership Washington County.
Kline said the agency has “75 active matches known as mentors or ‘bigs’ and 70 children ‘littles’ in Washington County on the waiting list. On a national and local scale there have been studies that show the benefits of becoming a ‘big.’”
Kline said the time commitment for ‘bigs’ can vary.
The agency has three mentoring programs. The site-based mentoring and the community-based programs require a 45-60 minute commitment each week, the community based program during the evenings and the site-based program during the day. Under the Sports Buddy program, ‘bigs’ and ‘littles’ attend a sporting event once or twice per month.
“There are studies throughout the country that have shown the benefits of mentoring,” he said. “A study conducted by Public/Private Ventures found that children in a mentoring program were 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 52 percent less likely to skip school and 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol.”
Kline said that aside from his new position, his proudest achievement was being named the 2006 recipient of the Family Partnership Award by the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children’s Mental Health and the State of Maryland Chapter of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.
“This was awarded to me for my work with the families of children with special needs,” he said.
BBBS has been a part of Washington County since 1956.