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Executive Directors

Roxanne McCright, current executive director of Big Pals Little Pals, left, stands by Andrea Holly, who will be talking over the organization after McCright's May 31 retirement. Holly officially began her training for the position May 1.

NATASYA ONG, The Columbus Telegram

Roxanne McCright said she feels exponentially better after finding a successor for her current job at Big Pals Little Pals, from which she is retiring May 31 after 22 years of service.

Months of searching came to an end when McCright came across an application from Columbus native Andrea Holly, who began her training for the executive director position on May 1.

“I think this was just meant to be because how often do you advertise for an employee and find someone that has done the exact same work somewhere else?” McCright said. “As far as training goes, I mean it’s not that hard because she has done a lot this already, so it makes it so much easier.”

Holly moved to Lincoln years ago to pursue her bachelor’s degree in child, youth and family studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She applied for an internship at a nonprofit organization and subsequently landed the position as assistant director of operations at Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is a nationwide mentoring program.

“I just really liked how the whole nonprofit world is driven toward helping people versus trying to bring in money,” Holly said.

After working for Big Brothers Big Sisters for three years, Holly and her husband decided to return home.

When Big Pals Little Pals was created it was initially affiliated with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

In the beginning, the organization was named Big Brothers and was established to provide male role models to boys in Columbus. The organization then began providing the same service for girls and changed its name to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

In 1972, members of the organization decided to branch out on their own to become a solely-local program, which then led to its name being changed to Big Pals Little Pals.

Despite the similarities between Big Pals Little Pals and Big Brothers Big Sisters, the two organizations have different operations and coverage. McCright is actively showing Holly the ropes of her position and the organization.

Holly said the transition is going smoothly because “this is essentially what I was doing in Lincoln.”

“I am really excited to see how I can grow (the organization),” she said.

Holly came in with big plans to refresh the organization’s message in efforts to secure more funding and increase recruitment.

“This is a one-person office, so you do it all,” McCright said.

Big Pals Little Pals is at 3020 18th St. #10 in the Columbus Family Resource Center.

McCright said she felt it was time to retire. She added the one important characteristic each executive director needs to have is compassion because he or she will be working closely with children and families.

The organization has a special place in the hearts of McCright and her family. Her husband has been a Big Pal for 14 years and her daughter served as a Big Pal in college.

McCright assured Holly she will be available to give a helping hand when needed after retiring, noting she plans to remain in the community after retirement to spend more time with her children and grandchildren.

“I just want to have time to smell the roses,” she said.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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