Xavier and Kyle

Xavier and Kyle

When they were first matched in February of 2018, Xavier, 12, knew right away that he and his Big Brother Kyle would make a great pair. I thought that he had cool hair,” said Xavier. “But my favorite thing about him is his personality.”

Kyle was equally excited to get to know Xavier. “Growing up, my Buddhist Youth Group leader really helped shape the person I am today.” In return, he wanted to give back to his community. “I wanted to give youth the opportunity to meet and get to know someone with more life experience and to share fun times with.” They definitely do share fun times together, eating, playing board games and watching movies.

Both Xavier and Kyle have learned a lot from each other. “I learned that anything is possible,” said Xavier, while Kyle said, “he has taught me how smart and compassionate children can be, as well as how to play basketball.”

As their match continues to grow, so will their experiences. “My hope for Xavier is that he achieves all the goals he sets out to accomplish,” said Kyle. “Xavier is really fun to be around and being able to see him develop as a person is great,” said Kyle. “If you were thinking about becoming a Big, know that it’s a big time commitment, but every bit rewarding.”

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Hylan and Dimitrius

Hylan and Dimitrius

Hyland, 14, is being raised by his mother Shelley and was matched with his Big Brother Dimitrius in June 2014. Growing up, Dimitrius considered his grandfather to be a mentor to him, and he was inspired to become a Big Brother because he wanted to be the type of person he needed in his life when he was a child, and give that guidance to another young man.

Hyland and Dimitrius agree that some of their favorite things to do together are attending sporting events, or just sitting and talking.
These two have shared some very special experiences, including a visit to Levi’s Stadium to watch a San Francisco 49ers game! “My favorite thing about being matched with my Little Brother is the fact that he enjoys and looks forward to our outings,” says Dimitrius, “and getting to see him grow physically and maturity-wise.”

Hyland and Dimitrius both have learned a lot from the time they’ve spent together. “My Little Brother teaches me about the challenges of growing up as a youth in today’s society,” says Dimitrius. “From Dimitruis, I have learned to always think about the bright side in sticky situations,” says Hyland. “He’s open to everything, and he always listens and gives good advice. I can also always teach my Big Brother about new video games and the new features included in them.”

“My hope for Hyland in the future is that he is happy and successful in whatever he chooses to do,” says Dimitrius. “To anyone else considering becoming a Big, I would say that there are so many boys who need a positive, empathetic male figure in their lives. It’s a rewarding experience, much- needed in our community and you’ll get to feel like you’re a kid again!”

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Imari and James

Imari and James

Imari, 16, and James were matched in September 2012, and enjoy going to sporting events, taking trips to beach, and going out to eat. “I recall my first impression of James where it all started,” Imari says. “I thought he looked so cool with his biker jacket on. His clothing style matched his personality: really cool. We immediately connected, he made me feel comfortable, safe, and not afraid to be myself.”

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Since that time, James has helped Imari experience many new things. “My mom never had a lot of money and James never made us feel bad about it,” Imari says. “If it weren’t for James, I would not have gotten the chance to have so many positive experiences. We went to several professional basketball and baseball games. We also went zip lining, to the movies, and to Pismo Beach.”

Imari and James have a unique bond that extends deeper that most friendships. During one of their outings, Imari received the devastating news that his mother had passed away unexpectedly. “James immediately arranged for his coworkers to help move both my mom’s and my personal belongings to my aunt’s house,” Imari says. “The things that we could not fit in my aunt’s house he allowed us to use his storage free of charge.

Through that tough emotional time, James was patient, caring, supportive, and emotionally available for me. I will always love him for that.” Ever since Imari suffered this tragic loss, James has truly stepped up in being a consistent presence in Imari’s life and in helping him grieve. Knowing that holidays without his mom are difficult, James invited Imari and his aunt to join his family for Thanksgiving last year. Even the family dog was invited! “James brings me along to hang out with his friends and family,” Imari says. “I am introduced to anybody who is special in his life. They all accept me and love me like family.  I am not a part of his life but also a part of his family.”

“My life has been such a blessing with James in it,” Imari says. “I am lucky to have James as a role model and father figure. I cannot imagine how my life would have turned out without him. I never had a father and now I do not have a mother either, but thank God, I still have James. Thank you, Big Brothers Big Sisters, for introducing us. I will forever be grateful!”

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You have a big opportunity in front of you—to not only impact a child’s life today, but to transform their potential for tomorrow.

Ta’Naejha and Marissa

Ta’Naejha and Marissa

Ta’Naejha, 11, and Marissa first became Sisters in June of 2017. When reflecting on her favorite thing about her Big, Ta’Naejha said “Marissa is herself. She likes you for who you are.” Some of their favorite things to do together are making jokes and laughing. “Naejha inspires me. At 11, she already has such a strong idea of who she is and what she wants. She also cracks me up,” said Marissa.

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Growing up, Marissa had a dear friend who was like a big sister to her. “I’ve known her since I was born and still go to her for advice to this day.” Having had this mentor in her life, Marissa felt the need to return the favor. “I found I had a good amount of free time outside of work and friends and wanted to use it doing something meaningful and give back to the community,” said Marissa.

Ta’Naejha and Marissa enjoy spending time together as well as getting to know each other more. “She’s very empathetic and always notices if someone is sad or upset,” said Marissa of her Little Sister. “She tries to fix it, even people she doesn’t know. It reminds me to be more compassionate.” In addition to this, Marissa has also learned what Ta’Naejha truly enjoys the most: hot wings. “Naejha loves hot wings. No matter what we do as an activity, we usually end up getting wings afterwards.”

“My hope for Ta’Naejha is that she knows how strong, intelligent and amazing she is and she uses that knowledge to conquer the world or do whatever she wants to do,” said Marissa. For someone considering becoming a big, Marissa says, “Do it! You will grow as a person and take just as much away from it as your Little.”

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You have a big opportunity in front of you—to not only impact a child’s life today, but to transform their potential for tomorrow.

Jazriel and Diana

Jazriel and Diana

Big Sister Diana was looking for a way to give back to her community when her friend inspired her to become a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters. “My friend is a Big Brother,” said Diana. “It seemed like a great opportunity and I love being a mentor.” In February 2018, Diana was matched with her Little Sister, Jazriel, 9, also referred to as Jazzy. “When I first met my Big Sister I thought she looked lovely,” said Jazzy.

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During their outings, Jazzy and Diana can often be found eating, bowling, exploring Sacramento and getting ice cream. “I enjoy playing with Diana and making her laugh,” said Jazzy. “My favorite thing about her is that she loves me.”

“Jazzy is so fun, caring and sweet, and she always makes me laugh!” said Diana. “I have a blast with her every time we hang out. She teaches me about the little things in life and to enjoy being a kid at heart.” Both Diana and Jazzy look forward to all of the fun activities they plan to do in the future, and the impact that they will continue to have on one another’s life. Jazzy hopes that she can teach her Big Sister more about science, and Diana hopes to inspire Jazzy to continue to learn and grow. “My future hopes for Jazzy are to be confident, and that she can be and do what she wants if her heart and mind keep driving her,” said Diana. “Being her Big Sister is so awesome and fun, and the most rewarding thing!”

DEFEND THEIR POTENTIAL

You have a big opportunity in front of you—to not only impact a child’s life today, but to transform their potential for tomorrow.

Alivia and Jennifer

Alivia and Jennifer

Alivia, 14, was matched with her Big Sister Jennifer in June 2013. Jennifer’s younger sister previously worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and inspired her to get involved. “I thought I could make a positive impact,” said Jennifer. “I don’t have kids of my own and have had a good life, so I wanted to give back.”

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“When I first met Jennifer she told me that she likes cats, so I thought we would get along really well, which we do,” said Alivia. Since that time, Alivia and Jennifer have discovered that they have even more in common, as they enjoy making pottery, getting their nails done, visiting museums, having lunch together and painting, and even painted a portrait of Alivia’s cat together. “My favorite thing about being matched with Alivia is watching her grow into a smart, beautiful, kind young lady,” said Jennifer. “I enjoy hearing about her activities and sharing fun experiences together.”

When listening to them speak about one another, it is clear what an impact Alivia and Jennifer have had on one another’s lives. “My Little Sister teaches me how to be graceful, kind, responsible, driven and mature,” said Jennifer.

Alivia feels the same way about her Big Sister, and when she was low on self-confidence it was Jennifer who built her up. “Jennifer has taught me that loving yourself is the true key to being happy,” said Alivia. “She really teaches me how to enjoy life to the fullest. My favorite thing about Jennifer is that I can talk to her about anything. She gives me advice, too.” Alivia also thinks that her Big Sister could learn from her when it comes to arts and crafts. “I think I have shown her what colors look good together and what don’t,” said Alivia, joking with her Big Sister.

“For Alivia’s future, I hope she has all the happiness and success possible,” said Jennifer. “It is rewarding to be there for your Little, having someone to share interests with and someone that you can watch grow and learn. It is a great way to make a positive impact in a young person's life and great to have someone to do fun activities with!”

DEFEND THEIR POTENTIAL

You have a big opportunity in front of you—to not only impact a child’s life today, but to transform their potential for tomorrow.