The Art of Helping Children Gala : Highlight of the Night
Our annual Art of Helping Children Gala was an amazing event filled with high-class decor and entertainment! Over 550 guests attended and helped raise more than $ 300,000 to support our mentoring programs! Two guests in particular, Little Brother Davone made the event even more spectacular. Little Brother, Davone, had been waiting for a Big Brother for more than a year. Guest cried as they watched Davonne meet his Big Brother, Daniel Petrilla, for the very first time!
Malek's Reading Success!
Little Brother, Malek, was matched with his Big Sister, Maie Khalil, in January of last year at Shaw Elementary and they have already accomplished some BIG goals! Malek was below level in reading and at risk for being held back in the first grade when he met his Big Sister. When the teacher learned that they were already matched in our after school one-to-one mentoring program, she rearranged the Reading PAL groups so Malek could meet alone with his Big Sister rather than in a group setting for extra support. Even after this Reading PAL time, they still got more time together during the after school program for their normal match visits.
Big Brother Clayton Swalsted and Little Brother Zac didn't let the big one get away! A big highlight for these two is a day of fishing. They took this picture near Apollo Beach, when they both caught a bonnet head shark at the same time. It's also a time for Clayton to teach his Little Brother about water safety, how to use a compass. He says Zac is a pretty good first mate!
Jacob's BIG Debut
(Check out the pictures! When Jacob's Big Brother Chris Milhoan found out tv crews would be shooting 'Bindi The Jungle Girl', he arranged for Jacob to be interviewed. These shots are were taken on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. Jacob's entire family had a chance to see his big debut. We hope he won't forget the little people when he makes it to the big time...!)
We often hear from our Bigs and Littles, but there is another important role that is crucial in making sure the match succeeds: caring parents. This is from Cindy, the mother of one of our Littles:
"We waited for over a year for Jacob's match but it was well worth the wait. I honestly don't believe there could have been a better match for Jacob OR his Big Brother Chris Milhoan! They get along very well and we are blessed to have a Chris in our lives. With Chris living SO close (less than three miles away), it's easy for them to get together. I am so glad that Jacob is part of the program. I'll never forget the first day those two met...many thanks to everyone at BBBS!!"
Thanks, Cindy, for allowing Big Brother Big Sisters to be a part of your son's life.
Take Me Out to The Ball Game!
My Little Brother Deontae had the time of his life at his first Tampa Bay Rays baseball game and the Rays won! It was family day, so he got a ball cap when he entered the stadium, an autograph, and had the chance to run the bases after the game. We marked our seats on the map in the program and marked the player who gave him the autograph. Deontae sprang out of the car to tell his mom and siblings about his day and to show off what he brought home from the game. We talked a lot about the rules of baseball and he followed the count on the scoreboard with each batter. Deontae studied the game, asking questions, and pointing things out that he observed. It was a great day!
Neil Armstrong became involved with the agency—-not as a volunteer, but as a “Table Captain”—the person who helps recruit friends and co-workers to attend our annual fundraiser, Little Moments Big Magic Luncheon. But, soon after, Neil decided to roll up his sleeves and get involved in a different way. This year, he became Jamaine’s Big Brother. Although they’ve only been matched for a few months, they’ve found quite a few things they enjoy, including computers, bowling, and football. Jamaine had the chance to go to his first Bucs football game! Neil says he always wanted to be a Big Brother...now he encourages other men to do the same.
Little to you, Big to them.
Big Sister Shelley Perfect is a dedicated and determined volunteer. She was first matched with a Little Sister months ago, but due to circumstances beyond Shelley’s control, the match had to close. But that didn’t deter her. She waited a month, and decided to start the process to find another Little Sister. And it was worth the wait! Shelley is now matched with Emily and they are having a great time. Shelley says, “Emily makes me laugh because she is silly and makes me smile because she is sincere.” Shelley says thanks to Emily, her life is a lot richer. Shelley could have easily walked away, and missed out on a wonderful young lady. We’re glad you hung in there!