Guiding Light

Mentoring isn’t just nice, it’s necessary. There are youth throughout our community that need the investment of time and treasure to help them succeed in life. It’s an empowering and humbling mission.
Words by Sandy Lindsey | June 29, 2020 | People

As a child raised by a single mother, President & CEO Gale Nelson of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami saw firsthand the many children full of promise who just need an opportunity, encouragement and support. He worked in corporate finance until the non-profit field “found him.” “I was given an opportunity to run a boarding school for juvenile delinquent boys after Hurricane Andrew and it changed my life,” he says. “I saw the potential in so many youth who were not bad kids — they simply made bad decisions. But with mentoring support, they flourished.” This led him to BBBS where he could impact the lives of youth before they come into contact with the juvenile justice system. “Prevention is the key to our success,” he says. “What began as a career goal of investing on Wall Street led to investing in our children. I have no regrets.” He remembers introducing his first Little Brother to his family. “We all went out to eat and I noticed how nervous my Little Brother was when looking at the menu,” he says. “I gently whispered ‘You are family, order what you want.’ He smiled and began talking with my kids right away. Two things happened for me then: I saw a child begin to blossom right before my eyes and my kids were able to see the impact we are having on someone else. When my baby boy said to me, ‘Dad, you are like a superhero,’ that’s when I knew I was in the right job!”;