Location: Bowdoin / McKeen Center / Activity / 2008 / 2008 / Heather Kenvin Hietala '83

Heather Kenvin Hietala '83
Director of Stewardship Programs & Associate Director, Capital Giving

Posted December 01, 2008

Heather Hietala became committed to the values of Big Brothers Big Sisters when she was a student at Bowdoin, and that commitment remains strong today.

In the 1980s, she volunteered as a Big Sister to a Longfellow Elementary School student who was also named Heather. The pair met once a week to bake cookies, play games on the Quad, or eat a meal on campus. Heather says she believes that Little Heather benefited from her interest in her life.

Heather’s experience mentoring as a Bowdoin student made quite an impact, and later when she relocated to Grinnell, Iowa, she moved from mentor to coordinator of a Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Here she learned volunteer coordination and how to run a non-profit, and also became versed in grant writing and fundraising—and she realized she liked reaching out to the wider community to support the program. Impressed with the organization’s commitment to maintaining high standards based upon research while allowing communities to create individualized programs, Heather remains supportive of Big Brothers Big Sisters in various ways today.

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“With Big Brothers Big Sisters, I often think of the starfish story where the emphasis is on making a difference, one starfish at a time.”