Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest (BBBSCM) held its Annual Meeting on January 19th at The Hanover Insurance Group. The Annual Meeting was attended by nearly 100 supporters, alumni, staff, board members, corporators and guests. The meeting was hosted and sponsored by the Hanover Insurance Group who committed to support BBBSCM with a $30,000 gift over three years starting in 2016.

The event featured two award presentations to members of the organization for outstanding achievements and contributions to the agency. The Colleen O’Brien Memorial Award is given annually to a Board Member who exceeded expectations in their contributions to the agency. It is named in honor of Colleen O’Brien, who passed away eight years ago after serving on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest Board of Directors. This year’s recipient is Dan Mastrototaro, formerly of Holden. Mastrototaro exemplified the giving spirit and determined passion exhibited by Colleen O’Brien by serving as the organization’s most recent Board chair, Big Brother, serving on countless Board committees, and helping secure financial support from his employer, The Hanover Insurance Group.

The Dr. H. Martin Deranian Fellowship Award is given annually to a Big Brother or Big Sister who exceeds expectations in their contributions to their mentee and to the agency. It is named in honor of Dr. H. Martin Deranian, the agency’s (and nation’s) longest serving Big Brother (50 years+). Dr. Deranian, a Shrewsbury resident who passed away in September, was involved with the agency for over fifty years. This year’s Deranian Award recipient is Candace Collins, of Marlborough. Collins has been involved with BBBSCM for over 7 years as a Big Sister.

David Shaprio, CEO of Mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership, spoke about the value of mentoring and its impact on at-risk youth in the United States in his keynote address.

Chris Lucas of Upton, presided over the meeting. Lucas was officially elected to begin his first term as chair of the agency’s board of directors at the meeting.

The agency elected three new members to its Board of Directors: Mikala Guertsen, Derenda Jeffrey and Todd Tallman. A short biography of each new member is included below.

Mikala Guertsen is a resident of Sterling, MA and is the Clerk of the Corporation at Avidia Bank. Mikala is a former Big Sister through our site based mentoring program in Marlborough/Hudson. She has served the community through a variety of charitable organizations, most notably as River’s Edge Arts Alliance, Relay for Life, and Bay Path Elder Services.

Derenda Jeffrey is a resident of Marlboough, MA and is a Senior Director for Nerium International. She is also a Health and Wellness Coach with her own private practice. Derenda has served Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/ Metrowest by chairing the committee for a fundraiser in April for the second time where she has mobilized her network at Nerium International to fundraise for the organization.

Todd Tallman is a resident of Ashland and serves as the President and CEO of Southbridge Savings Bank, a premier banking institution with 9 branch locations in Worcester County.He has been heavily involved in his community and has served as Chairman of the board for the United Way of Southbridge, Sturbridge, and Charlton.