July 3, 2015
Enemuoh-Trammell, center, with this year’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County graduating class. Enemuoh-Trammell served as speaker at the graduation ceremony. Photo by Elizabeth Stephens.
“There’s a certain level of gratification that you get from working with young people. I want my Little to be totally aware of all the opportunities available to her. I want to expand her view of the world. That is the reward to me.”
Nia Enemuoh-Trammell is an accomplished lawyer, active community member and recipient of numerous honors, including the 2015 Women of Distinction Leadership Award. She has served as Founder and President of the Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals, is a board member in the local chapter of the Urban League and a participant in community efforts to work with youth and change their lives.
Most recently, Enemuoh-Trammell was honored with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County’s (BBBS) “Big of the Year Award”, handed out to the Madison native at this year’s BBBS Graduation Ceremony.
The award is meant to recognize the impact of Bigs within the Madison community and beyond who contribute to the organization’s goal of helping all children achieve success in life by providing professionally-supported mentoring relationships to children living with adversity.
“‘The Big of the Year’ award is an opportunity to recognize the incredible impact that one of our Bigs has had in the past year, not only with their Little but within the bigger organization.” Christina Beach-Baumgartner, Program Director of BBBS, said, “Nia has made an impact on her little sister’s life and has been a spokesperson in the community. She’s always recruiting and showing what it means to be a big sister and how important it is for others to make the commitment.”
Throughout her childhood in Madison, Enemuoh-Trammell was mentored by the people in her own life and many of these relationships molded her into the person she is today. Shortly after launching her law career, she began exploring opportunities to give back within the community.
She started work with the Dane County Special Advocates Program, a proponent of abused youth, and Girls on the Run, a short, ten-week program working with preteen girls building confidence, developing character and a number of other program initiatives. “It was bittersweet whenever the program ended. There was a connection and I knew that I wanted to work with them more.” she said. She was matched with a preteen girl in the community through BBBS and began working as a one-on-one mentor.
BBBS focuses on fostering mentor relationships between disadvantaged youth and a Big, the goal being to have them remain together until the Little turns 18 or graduates from high school. With the help of role models from all areas of Madison, the organization has seen graduation rates among members as high as 100%. This year, BBBS saw 95% of their Littles graduate from high school. With 85% of their participants being students of color, this rate is much higher than the city’s average.
Alternatively, the majority of the organization’s Bigs are white members of the middle class with only 13% of volunteers being people of color, an experience Beach-Baumgartner said is invaluable to both sides. “Our vision is that all children achieve success in life. While we’re not always able to match up people who look the same, there’s value that comes in developing relationships with people who are different than you. Both sides are learning so much about each other.”
Enemuoh-Trammell (left), former Packer and keynote speaker, Greg Jennings (middle), and her Little, Annette (right) at the 2012 Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala. Photo by Elizabeth Stephens.
Enemuoh-Trammell was paired with her Little, Annette, in 2011. Using the word “journey” to describe the evolution of their relationship, she was quick to express her indebtedness to her Little, who will be out of the program in a year. Through bowling adventures, water parks trips and discussions surrounding Annette’s goals and aspirations, their appreciation for each other has only grown.
Enemuoh-Trammell describes the Annette she first met back in 2011 as shy and reserved. In 2012, Annette spoke in front of a crowd of over 300 people at the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala. “I’ve seen her blossom throughout our relationship. It really makes a difference.”
When asked how the program has affected her personally, Enemuoh-Trammell said, “There’s a certain level of gratification that you get from working with young people. I want my Little to be totally aware of all the opportunities available to her. I want to expand her view of the world. That is the reward to me.”
Enemuoh-Trammell served as this year’s speaker for the BBBS of Dane County graduation ceremony. She urged students to believe that they were extraordinary, that they had gifts to offer the world and that they should take risks and be personally responsible for their future.
“We are so pleased as an organization to recognize Nia for the incredible work that she does in our community and for the incredible impact that she has on her little sister’s life. It’s an honor for us to work with such amazing volunteers. She is an incredible individual,” Beach-Baumgartner said.
To get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County, visit their website at www.bbbs.org/danecounty.