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July 5, 2017, FORT WAYNE, IN Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana (BBBSNEI) is proud to announce that the 2017 Clifford P. Norman Service Award was revealed to its affiliates at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) National Conference, held last week in San Diego, California.

Rod Schoon, president of Ashley Industrial Molding, received the 2017 Clifford P. Norman Service Award. This award honors a local Board leader who exemplifies the qualities of commitment and generosity that were characteristic of Cliff Norman’s life. The Clifford P. Norman Award for a local board leader was established in memory of Cliff Norman, a Board member of both Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit and of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for more than 25 years. Cliff left a legacy of care and good will as an emissary for BBBS in countless local and national efforts.

Out of the thousands of nominations submitted from across the nation, BBBSA chose Avilla resident, Rod Schoon as this year’s recipient. As a volunteer and advocate for the agency, Schoon was recognized for his vast efforts on both the local and national levels. Schoon’s leadership has been essential in implementing business techniques and strategies that has made the Agency a locally, regionally and nationally recognized organization. His passion for the mission has led to an exponential growth in funding, resources for volunteers and program expansions. Additionally, he was recognized for his service as a Big Brother and dedication to Little Brother Gage.

“Since 2009, Rod has shared his talents as a business leader, strategist, relationship builder and mentor. He has been a true confidant, cheerleader and challenger for BBBSNEI. Without Rod, we would not be where we are today: an agency operating as the size of a large market within a mid-market, exceeding expectations, developing innovative programming, and creating sustainability. It’s an honor to have someone of his caliber serve our Agency with such a dedication and passion for the mission of serving children.” said Josette Rider, CEO of BBBSNEI.

A BBBSNEI board member since 2012, Schoon’s leadership was an integral part of the Agency’s move into a new, state-of-the-art facility, growth in matches from 1,800 to over 2,000, growth in the operating budget from $1.5 million to $2.5 million, all while decreasing expenses. Schoon also introduced the Agency to the Christian Coalition Organization (CCO), and he has played a major role in the program partnership, development, design and implementation. This partnership provided a platform for BBBS to have a presence on university campuses – touching the lives of college students and creating support groups for the alumni Littles on that college campus. Additionally, the relationship produced the first ever BBBSNEI student organization on the campus of Indiana University Purdue University at Fort Wayne that has provided invaluable experiences developing future leaders for our community.

Schoon says, “I was greatly humbled because I have met several people across the nation who do incredible work for this wonderful organization. I have been involved with BBBS increasingly for about 10 years. It meets my spiritual, social and political needs. Spiritually although not advertised as a Christian organization, easily 80% of the Bigs are people of faith. Socially and politically, it is the best organization I have found that breaks generational dependence on the government and others. I've not seen any organizations have substantial impact on dependent adults. However, young people, when you expose them to a world outside their present small circle of influence often blossom. These Bigs to their Littles - help them to have a dream, encourage, and help them see the path to realizing their dream. It's a one to one relationship and yields incredible results. I would encourage everyone to prayerfully consider donating time, talent and/or treasure to an organization like this who is having impact on our youth and society.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana is a nonprofit organization that serves children in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells, and Whitley counties in Indiana and Branch, Hillsdale and St. Joseph counties in Michigan. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to help children reach their potential through professionally supported one to one relationships with measureable impact. To learn how you can positively impact a child’s life, donate or volunteer at www.BBBSNEI.org.

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