With the Aug. 31 retirement of long-time Big Brothers Big Sisters Executive Director Kay Crites, the organization announced on Monday that Odessan Mitch Gerig has been selected to lead the organization. The board of directors cited his decades of experience in education and nonprofit work when making their decision.
Gerig has more than 30 years of experience in education. He has been a teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal with Ector County and Plano independent school districts. He also served as CEO of the Odessa YMCA. Most important, Gerig is a former Big Brother, giving him a unique understanding of the program.
“I remember the positive impact the experience had, not only in the life of my Little, but also in my life,” Gerig said in a press release. “It is an extremely rewarding experience.” Gerig added that his experience as an educational leader provided him with an understanding of how important having a positive mentor is in the life of a child.
“There is a huge need for positive mentors in the lives of our youth, as they face real challenges from the isolation during the COVID Pandemic and our mental health crisis locally and nationally. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Because of that mission, I cannot think of a better organization to work for.”
One of Gerig’s goals is to expand the Odessa program that began in 2018 under Crites’ tenure, the release said. Shortly after the program began, the pandemic resulted in the closing of many Odessa matches, and the organization has struggled to reinvigorate the original community enthusiasm and interest since.
Outgoing Executive Director Crites praised Gerig’s hiring in the release. “All of Mitch’s experience with students has given him a natural, easy method of communicating – with students and adults alike. This will be a huge advantage for Big Brothers Big Sisters. He also has a real passion for the mission of the organization and has already begun to promote the program and its purpose. I will be excited to watch the growth and progress that Big Brothers Big Sisters makes in the Permian Basin under his leadership.”
During Crites’ 13 years with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the organization conducted a capital campaign to construct a new building, expanded the program into Odessa and served more than 3,000 children through one-to-one mentoring relationships. She was chosen as the Association of Fundraising Professionals Outstanding Professional Fundraiser in 2017 and helped start Permian Basin Gives, an annual day of giving for nonprofits, in 2020 when the pandemic stopped all local fundraising events.
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides mentors for children in Midland and Ector counties and strives to ensure that all children achieve their full potential by matching them with a caring mentor. For more information about enrolling a child or volunteering as a mentor, call (432) 687-0195 or go to bbbspermianbasin.org/volunteer.