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Reflecting on the Best of 2023: Memorable Moments with Bolder Options

As we reflect on 2023, we want to look back on memorable moments that our staff at Bolder Options have experienced. From the exhilaration of obtaining a new logo for our organization to witnessing the incredible engagement of our youth at various events, this year has been full of rewarding experiences and heartwarming moments. Join us as we highlight some of the standout memories that have shaped our journey and reaffirmed our commitment to empowering young individuals.

" At the annual dinner, I was deeply moved as were many others by Mya's poem and her speech. Mya is teaching us that it is okay to be yourself in your skin. Everyone in the room was inspired by her remarks " 

-Darrell Thompson, President

"I loved having the opportunity to visit Canterbury Park and watch our pairs feed beautiful race horses carrots and peppermints by hand! It was such a treat (for us and for them!) and a unique experience to share. I also always love our Open House and the reunion feel as it brings participants, staff, and supporters from throughout Bolder Options history back together. Last year was extra special with DJ Mickey Breeze, Lil Dipper soft serve ice cream, face painting by Rebecca, and the live mural installation by local graffiti artist, Talia Inez!"

-April Riordan, Chief Operating Officer

"Hearing Vienna's powerful speech at the state capital about her experiences with her mentor."

- Ryan Foss, Development Director

"I can think of a dozen or more moments when you can see growth happening in front of you: like when kids go from the new kid who is to shy to share their name, to one of the leaders, ready to graduate and welcoming new pairs into the community."

- Sarah Kimmes, Program Coordinator

"My favorite memory from last year was the Jack O'Lantern Jamboree. It was so neat to see mentees, mentors, Gopher Football players and Wells Fargo volunteers all carving pumpkins together. Hearing all the laughter, chatter and relationships forming was a beautiful moment."

- Lucy Bossert, Program Director

"My favorite experience was attending an event and witnessing how engaged the youth were about the topic. They all clicked so well and one youth was a big fans of the Costco cookies that day."

- TyTeeona Howard, Data and Engagement Manager

"My favorite activity in 2023 was going to the RideAbility event. It was an amazing opportunity to observe the pairs participate in each station together. I loved watching their confidence and their smiles grow!"

- Sarah Antinozzi, Program Coordinator

"Something that really stood out in 2023 was the strong community support of the Rochester Program. Collaborations with Rochester Civic Theatre, Rochester Art Center and 125 Live provided deeper connections with the arts. Partnerships with TerraLoco, RideAbility, Rochester Honkers, Rochester Grizzlies, Zumbro Valley Audubon Society and Rochester Police Department to name a few, promoted a wealth of learning and a stronger sense of belonging in the community for our youth. These partnerships are priceless!"

- Carla Anderson, Program Coordinator

"Back in November we held a happy hour event for anyone in the Rochester

community interested in learning more about Bolder Options. It had been quite some time since we had attempted this and was hoping we could get 30 people to show up. You could imagine our surprise when more than 100 people filled that room. What a great night! There is such a need for youth mentoring in our community and the community was there in great numbers to show their support!"

-Sarah Schaller, Director of Rochester Program

"The overwhelming support we received last year in celebration of our 30th anniversary was truly incredible. We welcomed numerous new supporters and donors into our community, and many individuals who have been a part of Bolder Options for 20-30 years reconnected, creating a sense of reunion and celebration. One of the most exciting highlights for me was gaining a new supporter who not only helped us clean up our building but also became involved through hosting a happy hour event, ultimately joining our board of

directors—all within a single year. Such dedicated support makes a tremendous difference and is truly inspiring."

- Dominique Darbaki, Development Associate

"The spring of 2023 marked the start of my journey as the Marketing and Communications Manager for Bolder Options. During this time, my involvement in the design process of our organization's new logo, alongside Cornel Beard and the marketing committee, brought forth invaluable learning experiences and it was a great way to get to know Bolder Options. And as a result, Bolder Options now proudly showcases a vibrant new logo."

- Rebecca Keyes, Marketing and Communications Manager

Looking back on the year 2023, it is evident that our staff at Bolder Options has been fortunate to witness and be a part of truly remarkable moments. From hearing Vienna's powerful speech to carving pumpkins together at the Jack O'Lantern Jamboree, every memory serves as a testament to the positive impact mentoring has on the lives of our youth. The strong community support and valuable partnerships we have cultivated throughout the year have further solidified our commitment to creating a nurturing environment where growth is fostered and a sense of belonging is cultivated. As we enter a new year, we are excited to continue our mission of empowering young individuals and creating more unforgettable memories along the way. 2024 here we come!

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