By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Shrewsbury – After nearly four decades as the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass./Metrowest Inc. (BBBSCM) Shrewsbury resident Ben Ticho will be leaving that post later this month.? His replacement will be another Shrewsbury resident, Jeffrey Chin, who Ticho said he believes is a “great choice” as the agency prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary this spring.
Chin comes to BBBSCM with a wealth of experience, particularly in his last job at Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services (SYFS) where he served as executive director since 2004.
Although excited for the challenge of heading a new organization, leaving SYFS after such a lengthy period was not an easy decision to make, Chin acknowledged.
“I was not actively looking to leave,” he said. “But I thought it quite appealing to be able to work with families on a broader scope and have a regional impact. I feel very humbled and honored to be given this chance.”
“[SYFS] is a terrific organization. The people in the organization, the board of directors and volunteers – are tremendous,” he added.
Each year, BBBS serves over 1,400 children facing adversity, by matching them with adult volunteer mentors, who provide guidance, support and friendship. The agency's region covers over 40 communities in the central Mass. urban Worcester east region to the western Boston suburbs.
Growing up in Providence, R.I., Chin was the eldest of 42 grandchildren. ?It was then, he noted, that his passion to work with children took root.
“I'se always had a caring adult presence in my life; my aunts and uncles were great mentors,” he said.” I was also fortunate to have adults who valued education and to have positive role models.”
After getting his degree in psychology at Wheaton College, he interned at Hasbro Children's Hospital and then Bradley Hospital, where he said he really “fell in love” with his vocation. Chin went on to obtain his master's degree in social work at Boston College and served as the manager/director at Wayside Youth & Family Support Network in Framingham before joining SYFS.
On occasion, Chin said, SYFS works with BBBS. As such, he is well aware, he added, of the “incredible work” Ticho has done over the years.
“He's been the face of the organization, just a great steward,” he said. “I hope to continue that.”
Ticho, in turn, notes that “Jeff has the right amount of experience. He's dealt with many of the issues that we deal with – he will be great leader to carry on our mission.”
Chin resides in Shrewsbury with his wife, Beth, and their three children. He is an elected Town ?Meeting member and past president of the Shrewsbury Rotary Club as well as a volunteer on other town boards and councils. He is also a commissioned U.S. Navy Reserve officer, providing support as a public affairs officer for a unit based in Bahrain.
Tom Kennedy, the former director of human resources for the Shrewsbury Public Schools and a member of the SYFS Board of Directors, will be serving as SYFS's interim director while the agency searches for Chin's replacement.
“Jeff's departure will be a loss for SYFS and for Shrewsbury. He has established a true partnership with the School Committee and the schools in town,” Kennedy said. “Jeff has provided excellent leadership and direction to the agency. He is a hands-on executive director and leaves the agency in a much better position that when he assumed the leadership role eight years ago. While it is a sad time as we say good-bye to Jeff, we look forward to hiring a new executive director and continuing the quality services provided to the residents of Shrewsbury by SYFS.
BBBS will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in April.
“It's an exciting time, and I's looking forward to it,” Chin said. “BBBS serves over 40 communities – there's a lot of potential to establish meaningful relationships.”