Darrell Thompson, #20StoriesFor20Years

“I’m President and CEO of Bolder Options. Our goal is to introduce youth to a healthy lifestyle through physical activity, education, and goal setting. We match kids 10 to 14 years old with a mentor and they get together every week. We set one physical goal, one educational goal, and one social emotional goal that they work towards over the course of a year. They do 5K and 10K bike rides on weekends. They also get a YMCA membership, so they’ll have physical activity opportunities during the wintertime.

We got selected by SVP Minnesota through their grant writing process. We’re just in our first year, so we’re lucky, we have a couple years left of advice and support. There’s just a benefit to SVP being flexible, listening, and then getting their expertise and sometimes their contacts as well. Like, ‘I know someone over at XYZ, let me give them a buzz and see if they’re willing to spend some time with us.’ So there’s value in people who know people, because sometimes when you’re in our sector, you can get a little siloed.

Our SVP impact team is helping us develop our recruitment process for mentors of color. With everything that we have going on in our world right now, people are tapped out, and a lot of times people of color can be even more tapped out. But there’s this opportunity for people to get engaged and make a difference. So the partners have been talking through it with us, coming to some of our events, and watching what we do and say. They’re helping us think about how we follow up, who follows up, all those things. It’s good to have someone like that right in your shop. Even though it’s just one meeting a month, it’s valuable time when they’re here.

I’ve been at Bolder Options for twenty-seven years and I’m still amazed. There’s one young man who graduated probably fifteen years ago and now he’s a banker. He sends me pictures of his daughter, talks to me about his wife. So he’s a grown man now, but he wasn’t going that direction. He was going down a bad route. We have another young lady who graduated ten years ago that works here now. So those types of stories make me fired up to come into work every day.”

Darrell Thompson,
President and CEO Bolder Options
SVP Organizational Leader

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