Be Bold, Support Bolder Options

August 12, 2016

tutoringAbout three years ago, I was looking to get involved in a nonprofit organization. I’d taken a short break from volunteering as my life got more and more hectic, but it was time start giving something back again. Helping kids was a priority and I began investigating local mentoring programs. The search for the perfect fit was brief.

I met with Darrell Thompson, longtime executive director of Bolder Options, and his passion and enthusiasm for what they do was energizing. Darrell invited me to a Bolder Options graduation event for mentor/mentee pairs who recently completed a year in the program, and I was amazed by what I heard that night.

  • Kids who were receiving failing grades making their school honor roll
  • Kids who were repeatedly truant getting perfect attendance
  • Kids who couldn’t jog a city block completing a 5K
  • Kids who were once too shy to talk in class speaking to a large group of strangers

These aren’t the kind of stories you hear every day. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As a member of the board of directors, I’ve heard time and again from program participants – both mentors and mentees — that Bolder Options has changed their lives. That’s a bold statement, but it’s true.

I’m talking about kids who had no desire to finish high school turning things around and graduating from college. And one of my favorite stories is a former program participant who has gone on to an awesome job as a programmer at Target. Can you guess what his mentor did for a living? He’s a programmer — and that’s not a coincidence.

How does Bolder Options do it, you ask?

  • By matching kids with a one-on-one adult mentor for two to four hours per week
  • By inspiring self-confidence through personalized goal setting and accomplishment
  • By offering engaging programming and curriculum that teaches life skills, ranging from wellness and nutrition to financial literacy
  • By providing academic support and tutoring
  • By demonstrating the importance of staying in school and getting good grades
  • By fostering family and community engagement
  • By creating opportunities to learn, discover and explore

I just went to another graduation event earlier this week, and it was an terrific reminder of how important the organization is to our community. And that’s where you come in.

We need smart, creative marketers to join our marketing/development committee and help tell the Bolder Options story. But perhaps more importantly, we need mentors. There are kids on a waiting list right now hoping to be paired with someone who will be a positive influence in their life. If you’re up for either challenge, check out or contact me at We’d love to tell you more.