Big Brother of The Year, Ben
We told you Ben and Dewon’s story when they were our Match of the Month back in February of last year. When we last checked in with them it was right before everything shut down in March. Since then they have gone through the continuing health crisis as a team. Ben has gone out of his way to stay connected to Dewon, even inviting Dewon and his mom into his backyard for a safe outdoor BBQ. His commitment to his Little and his consistent support of the BBBS program, are what set Ben apart as our Big Brother of the Year. Big congratulations to you Ben, you have earned this!
Ben and Dewon celebrated two years of being matched in June, in that time they have made a point of exploring many new things. Reflecting on their journey together, Ben shared that he was most excited to watch Dewon continue to grow and become more confident in himself. He also shared that they overcame some fears together and it’s exciting to watch. A consistent and reliable mentor like Ben, who is not afraid to challenge growth, can be the key that helps unlock a Littles confidence, helping them find the courage to do things they didn’t think they could.
Ben and Dewon have worked together on the importance of healthy habits and hard work. From cooking healthy meals and enjoying smoothies, to working out as a team, Ben has both set an example for Dewon and encouraged him to stay motivated. Ben also makes sure that progress made, and goals achieved are always celebrated. When a Little’s efforts are both supported and rewarded, it encourages further progress and bigger goals.
When the pandemic hit and Washtenaw County shut down, Ben rolled up his sleeves and got involved. He volunteered to help us deliver food to our families who did not have transportation, or had at risk family members in the home. When asked about his experience delivering groceries he talked about how rewarding it was to give back to the community during such a difficult time. It’s Ben’s desire to give BIG that made him our Big Brother of the Year. Congrats again to both Ben and Dewon, matches like yours are an inspiration to us all!
Big Sister of The Year, Zakiya
You met Big Sister Zakiya and her Little Sister Autumn when they were the Match of the Month in July last year. Since then you have seen them together in our Empower Resilience campaign. This match will not be separated by the current health crisis or the cold weather. In addition to staying connected to her Little, Zakiya has helped Autumn grow, and advocated for our program in the community. She is everything we look for in a Big and we wholeheartedly congratulate her on being the Big Sister of the Year!
Autumn said that her favorite thing about having Zakiya as a Big is that she is kind. She also said she loves going on outings with Zakiya and, “just getting to know her.” Having a mentor that you can trust to show up, and have your back makes a huge impact on Littles like Autumn. It builds their confidence, both in themselves and their ability to do new things. Knowing that, that bond is reliable even in the most uncertain times, can be a guide when life gets hard.
Zakiya goes out of her way to celebrate Autumn’s accomplishments. Autumn is an excellent student, she is always on top of her school work, and adjusted quickly to learning from home. Zakiya lets Autumn know how awesome her academic achievement is by regularly bragging about how smart her Little Sister is. She made an extra effort to celebrate Autumn when she earned the Student of the Month award. When Little’s feel celebrated in this way it emphasizes the value of their hard work and motivates them to keep it up.
Zakiya not only goes out of her to be an amazing Big to Autumn, but she also goes above and beyond by giving additional time and financial support to our program. She helped with our Adopt-A-Family program this year. On #GiveBigDay, when we asked our volunteers to help us fundraise, Zakiya was there for that too. She is willing to go the extra mile, even when that mile is a difficult climb, and that is what set her apart as our Big Sister of the Year. Congrats to both Zakiya and Autumn, you are an amazing match and we can’t wait to see what you do in 2021.