Scott Nadeau, named 2017 Minnesota Big Brother of the Year

August 2, 2017, Suzy Piper

It’s not often that you come across someone who’s a three-time Big Brother, a tireless community advocate and a police chief.

That title belongs to Scott Nadeau, Minnesota’s 2017 statewide Big Brother of the Year.

Scott represents the very best in mentoring. For more than a decade he’s been a Big Brother to first Marcus, then Ernesto and currently Connor. Scott and Connor spend time together each week shooting hoops or going head-to-head in “the most epic game of Monopoly,” but this story is about even more than those life-changing friendships. It’s about a community that’s been transformed
by mentoring. 

A few years after being named Chief of Police in 2008, Scott initiated on a partnership with BBBS. It started with a half-dozen officers (including Scott) who became Bigs and met with their Littles weekly at their school.

But many kids were waiting to be matched with Bigs, so Scott invited more people to volunteer. Perhaps “invite” isn’t quite strong enough — if Scott knew someone who would make a good mentor, he made sure they knew it. Today his list of recruits numbers 40+ and includes his sister, his wife, another police chief, several members of Columbia Heights City Hall staff, local librarians, a few firefighters, and of course many police officers.

The results have been nothing short of remarkable. 

Crime is at a 40-year low in Columbia Heights. Half of the sworn officers and police support staff are volunteer Bigs. Juvenile arrests have fallen by more than half, from 243 in 2007 to 90 in 2015.

The high school suspension rate has dropped 130%. 

Today hundreds of kids in Columbia Heights have benefitted from strong, steady, caring mentors who have helped them see and achieve their fullest potential, thanks to Scott. 

What a difference mentoring can make.