Match Support Coordinator
My name is Michelle Brisnehan and I am the Match Support Coordinator here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central NE, which is a fancy way of saying I get to work with our people. I oversee Matches, both community and school based to make sure things are going smoothly, ensure our guidelines are being followed and most importantly making sure our kids are safe. I regularly talk or meet with our caregivers, Bigs and Littles about all things related to Big Brothers Big Sisters. In fact, it’s this hands-on approach to match support, I enjoy most about my job and what sets up apart from other mentoring programs I’ve seen. I wear lots of different “hats” while at work which is also why I love this place so much. I get to do everything from planning monthly match outings, coordinating the distribution of Project Hunger Thanksgiving Baskets for our families, to organizing Holiday gift distributions and working with counselors and social workers at area schools. I rarely do the same thing two days in a row and as I often joke, I spend a lot of time working from my “car-fice” on the phone or working remotely.
I’ve lived in Grand Island with my husband, Jim, since 1997. My background is in education. I spent 17 years teaching (15 of those at Grand Island Senior High) before taking some time off to stay-at-home (although I was rarely “home”) with my 2 boys who are now 14 and 18. My oldest is a senior and the youngest is in the 8th grade, so it’s a big year at our house full of lots of changes and lots of “lasts”. After my stint as a classroom teacher, I continued to work as a substitute teacher, did some one-on-one consulting with a couple of students through GIPS, worked at Twister’s Pre-School Academy and was heavily involved with the PTO at Engleman Elementary before landing at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Actually, it was through my years of teaching at GISH, and the connections I made with my students, that I came to Big Brothers Big Sisters. One of my former “kids” was on our Board of Directors and strongly encouraged (recruited) me to take the position. It’s a great story that I love to share with people; we often plant seeds we don’t even know about that might not “bloom” until years later.
My passion has always been working with kids, especially kids that come from situations that have been less than ideal. I love nothing more than to see a young person that has struggled in some way achieve a goal they never thought possible. One of my favorite things about living in Grand Island is getting to see many of those same kids years later working, living and raising their own families. Several of my former students are currently involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters in some way and I love that the most!
When I’m not working with kids or attending my own kid’s activities, you’ll find me doing something with my horses, riding my bike out in the country, working in my yard, baking for my family and friends or fishing/hunting depending on the season!