By Joy Wick, BBBSNEW volunteer.
“I think we’ll never understand the impact of having the right people in your life, and that’s why I’m drawn to programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters,” says Michelle Knaus, client relationship manager for Nicolet Bank.
Knaus is one of the many Nicolet employees in Brown and Door counties whose passion for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin (BBBSNEW) drives the bank’s consistent and growing financial resources to the agency over the years. She is one of numerous employees who serve as Bigs and she consistently goes above and beyond to create success for BBBSNEW.
Knaus serves as a Big Sister, previously served on the Board of Directors as well as chaired the Bowl For Kids’ Sake committee. Her effort is a manifestation of the Nicolet mission that allows Knaus to be real, responsive, personal and memorable.
“Nicolet Bank’s philosophy about being out in the community and letting their employees truly give of their talents is huge,” Knaus says, who also volunteers with The Joseph Project at the Micah Center. “I truly appreciate that because it allows me to be who I am and still be a good employee.” Her support goes several years back to when her granddaughter was a Little in the program.
“I got involved because I could see the relationship that my granddaughter had with her Big Sister, and what a difference it made,” Knaus says.
She has been matched twice within BBBSNEW’s site-based program. She currently meets with her Little Sister, Thaileena, on a weekly basis for lunch and study hall.
“When I go there and my Little’s friends see me coming, they all ask, ‘Can we come with and spend some time with you too?’ So you know that the need is really out there. I’d like to take them all in,” she says with a laugh.
“I can be thankful because Nicolet Bank supports that and I don’t have to worry about ‘Is it OK?’ or ‘I better not spend that time away from work.’”
Allowing employees like Knaus to follow their charitable passions is something the bank says is easy to do. The energy that employee puts in comes right back. It’s a win-win.