Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine has recently added two new staff members.

Misty Start of Thomaston has been named the agency’s School-Based Mentoring Manager. In this position, she will work with local schools to implement School-Based Mentoring, which matches elementary and middle school students with responsible high school or college-aged students. These matches meet weekly during the school year, usually after school hours, and spend time together based on mutual interests.

Start recently graduated from Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire with a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy. Her passion has been to serve youth living in the Midcoast area that offered so much to her as a child. After graduation, she began an internship with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine where she polished her skills in office management, public relations and fundraising. She has been heavily involved in several volunteer organizations including Trekkers, the St. George Recreation Department and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship which has allowed her to not only work with local youth, but youth across the country. Start now volunteers as a member of the Recreation Committee for the town of Thomaston, coaching youth basketball.

“Words of encouragement can give a child the confidence they need to pursue their dreams. Listening to their hopes and fears let them know that they are important. Simple acts of kindness have unforeseen impacts that have the power to resonate throughout a child’s life. I know because as a child I had an adult who did that for me,” she said in a news release.

Lydia Deere-MacLeod of Owls Head has been hired as program manager. She recently celebrated her first year anniversary as a Big Sister. She will be assisting the community-based mentoring director and the two school-based mentoring managers with customer relations, enrollment and match support. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Smith College and is currently working towards her master’s in social work at the University of Maine. Deere-MacLeod has experience working in the domestic violence movement and as a mentor for restorative justice. With her experience serving children and families she hopes to provide community-based and school-based matches with individualized and engaging support.

“As a Big Sister, I’ve seen the impact of the agency’s work firsthand and I know that mentoring has the potential to change the lives of participating children and adults. I hope my work at the agency allows others to experience the reciprocal benefits of what Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine has to offer,” she said.

Alex Gaeth, chief executive officer of BBBSMCM said, “Both Lydia and Misty’s mentoring experience, coupled with their obvious passion and strong educational backgrounds, will be great assets to our team and for the children of Knox, Lincoln and Waldo counties. We’re excited to welcome them to our growing agency.”

To learn more about how to help change a child’s life by becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, or to make a donation or volunteer, call 593-0380 or email info@bbbsmcm.org.