Jay’sson and Alex

Jay’sson and Alex

Jay’sson, 11, was matched with his Big Brother in April 2016. “I remember the first time we met Alex,” says Jay’sson’s mom, Marilyn. “We were all so nervous but that quickly ceased after we sat at the table and Alex began to interact with my son.” “No child chooses the circumstances of their birth,” says Alex. “I was inspired to make a positive difference in someone’s life, and to show them that they can do the same not only for others but for themselves.”

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Together, Jay’sson and Alex enjoy playing video games, going to the river and park, eating, playing basketball and on trampolines, and trying new things together. Alex also helps Jay’sson with school, and he checks in with him about homework and even arranged for Jay’sson and his mom to take a field trip to the State Capitol with a tour from a former Senator. “Alex has gone above and beyond what I expected as a Big Brother,” says Marilyn, “and has made himself familiar with the things that interest Jay’sson.” “Prior to my match I had never been around children,” says Alex. “It has been incredibly rewarding to watch our relationship develop. I look forward to our visits more and more as time goes on! Jay’sson teaches me about Fortnite, music, and a completely different world view and experience from my own.”

Marilyn says that the changes she has seen in her son through this journey are incredible. “My son is less angry and has changed his thinking of men since Alex has become his Big Brother,” says Marilyn. “He has gotten to experience that not all men act bad.” “My favorite thing about Alex is that he is funny and open,” says Jay’sson. “My hope for Jay’sson’s future is that he is able to define his own success and happiness,” says Alex, “and live his life accordingly.”

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DeVonte and Kingsley

DeVonte and Kingsley

DeVonte, 14, was matched with his Big Brother Kingsley in December 2014. “The first time I met my Big I felt amazed because he looked like a smart guy. I thought he could probably get me into some sports,” says DeVonte. Although he wasn’t a fan of sports at first, DeVonte’s match has opened his eyes to many new experiences. His mother, Adell, says that Kingsley has encouraged DeVonte to try new things, has helped him with academics, and has built his confidence.

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Kingsley and DeVonte have an incredible bond built on fun and dependability, and even have their own handshake. “Kingsley helps me with stuff that I don’t get, and he really likes to hang out with me,” says DeVonte. “He taught me how to shoot a basketball and gives me hints on bowling, and they are good hints!” “DeVonte is very easy going, just like me,” says Kingsley. “He has a chill personality and likes to try new things. He teaches me about new music and video games all the time.”

Adell has her own favorite memory of DeVonte’s match with Kingsley. “Kingsley has made a lasting impact on DeVonte through his patience and kindness,” she says. “Kingsley taught DeVonte to tie his shoes, so when DeVonte did it on his own for the first time, the first thing we had to do was send Kingsley a picture of his tied shoes.”

Even as long as they have been matched, DeVonte and Kingsley still look forward to all the new things they will do together. “I hope DeVonte accomplishes all of his dreams,” says Kingsley. “I want him to know that he is capable of doing whatever he sets his mind to.”

“DeVonte was right, his Big is smart, kind, considerate, and generous. Kingsley has blended into our family seamlessly,” says Adell. “Thank you, Big Brothers Big Sisters, for all you do to impact the lives of our youth. I know my son has been blessed and positively changed because Kingsley is in his life. Thank you, Kingsley, for your kind and giving heart. Words can’t express my gratitude and appreciation for all you have done since being matched with my son.”

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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.

Zayvion and Nuno

Zayvion and Nuno

Zayvion, 12, and Nuno were matched in November 2014. At first, Zayvion didn’t know what to expect from having a Big Brother, and wasn’t sure if the experience would be fun. However, he soon realized that he had a connection with Nuno, and together they enjoy practicing sports, playing video games, going out to eat and walking together. Being a Big Brother has shown Nuno life experiences that are outside of his own. “Being a Big has given me a new perspective,” said Nuno. “My dad taught me how to lead a life. Zayvion doesn’t have that so it is hard to imagine that situation. Zayvion has made me appreciate having a father that was around. Also, Zayvion has taught me that sometimes, you ‘need to take a chill pill.’”

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Nuno has also had a significant impact on Zayvion, who has learned a lot from his Big Brother. “Nuno has taught me that a lot of good things, like getting a job, come from going to school.”

“My hope for Zayvion’s future is that he can lead a successful life,” said Nuno. “I hope he can be self-sufficient and grow up to be a responsible man. To anyone considering becoming a Big I would say to just do it. The time commitment is worth it compared to the benefit you’re giving to a young person. You might just be the difference in someone’s life!”

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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.

A’Vonti and Vanessa

A’Vonti and Vanessa

A’Vonti, 9, was matched with her Big Sister Vanessa in April 2018, and had an instant connection. “When I first met Vanessa, I thought she sounded very nice,” said A’Vonti. “She’s cool!” These two are always spending time together laughing, and love to play with Vanessa’s dog.

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Growing up, Vanessa looked up to many different mentors, including her mom, and she was inspired to be the same influence on another young woman. “My favorite thing about being matched with A’Vonti is that she is amazing and bright,” said Vanessa. “She teaches me to be free, and don’t forget to have fun!” Both A’Vonti and Vanessa know that the fun has just begun in their match, and look forward to all they will share together in the future. “I hope to watch A’Vonti grow into a confident woman and help people in her community,” said Vanessa. A’Vonti also hopes that her Big Sister can learn from her too. “I think I can teach her to do gymnastics!” said A’Vonti.

Vanessa is part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bigs with Badges program, as she is a Sergeant with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. She truly enjoys being part of the program, and how being a Big Sister has deepened her connection to her community. “As an officer, we are often exposed to malicious and tragic elements in our careers, and at times, we find ourselves fixated on the negative,” said Vanessa. “So rather than focusing on what is wrong with our community, let us focus on what we can do better for our community. If I can inspire someone with a badge and heart to step up to support and enrich their youth, I will be one happy woman. ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’”

Vanessa hopes that sharing her experience as a Big will encourage other officers to serve as mentors. “Do it!” said Vanessa. “Fuel your heart and soul while you share a journey with the youth in your community. Teach them something and they will help you learn about yourself.”

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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.

Ariana and Molly

Ariana and Molly

When Ariana, 10, and her Big Sister Molly were matched in May of 2018, they were both eager to begin their relationship. “I thought that she was nice, sweet and kind,” said Ariana, thinking back on the first time she met Molly. “My favorite thing about being match with Ariana is seeing the world through a 10-year-old’s eyes,” said Molly.

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“I was interested in becoming a Big because I was hoping I could inspire someone to become better with the possibility of learning something from them as well,” said Molly. In the time since they have been matched, they both have learned some important lessons. “I have learned how to have more patience,” said Molly. “My Big Sister has taught me to be more kind,” Ariana revealed.

Ariana and Molly have done quite a few things in the time they have spent together. They have enjoyed visiting the zoo, riding ponies, going to the park and making slime. As their match continues, they look forward to sharing new experiences as Little and Big, such as going roller skating.

“My hope for Ariana is for her to succeed in her goals,” said Molly. “For anyone interested in becoming a Big, it is very fulfilling!”

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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.

Samantha and Brooke

Samantha and Brooke

Samantha, 8, was matched with her Big Sister Brooke in June of 2018. When thinking back on the first time she met her, Samantha thought she was really pretty and was looking forward to growing their bond. “My favorite thing about being matched with Samantha is just getting to know her and laughing with her,” said Brooke. “Eight-year-olds say the funniest things.”

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Samantha and her brother, Jayden, are both being raised by their mother, Cynthia, who referred her children to the program to give them an added element of guidance and support. Growing up, Brooke’s primary mentor was her dance teacher, but her inspiration to become a Big Sister derived from her career goals in studying to become a marriage and family therapist. “I love connecting with people and relating to them however I can.” Samantha and Brooke have discovered that they have many things in common. “We both love to eat yummy food and have fun,” said Brooke. “We also had a lot of fun playing laser tag together.”

Since they have been matched, both Samantha and Brooke have learned a few things. “Brooke has taught me more about fashion,” said Samantha, who hopes to teach her Big Sister how to play soccer in the future. “My hope for Samantha this year is for her to be successful in third grade and continue her interest in animals,” said Brooke. “If you were thinking about being a Big, do it! It is the best volunteering job!”

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.