To wrap up National Mentoring Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio hosted its annual Celebration of Potential banquet. With COVID-19, they did this safely by making a YouTube video honoring their award winners.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 charitable organization with six paid employees and two types of mentoring programs: Community-based Mentoring and School-based Mentoring.
Each person on this list and in the whole organization has worked to earn these awards.
Here’s the list of individuals who were honored this year:
Big of the Year: Brittany Douglas
Brittany, a Newsymom writer, has been matched with her little, Tianna, since 2012. The two have a close bond and consider each other family. Brittany has been a great source of support to Tianna throughout the year 8 years together. They have formed a lifelong bond.
Achievement Award: Hannah Trimble
Hannah is a 17-year-old junior that attends New Philadelphia High School and Buckeye Career Center. She was matched with her Big Sister, Courtney, in 2017. Since then, Hannah has blossomed through their interactions with each other and her art.
Reece Shringler and Alexis Ford
Reece is a 3rd grader at Tusky Valley Elementary School. As an only child, her mother wanted her to make a connection with another person outside the family. Alexis was the perfect match. The two connect through FlipGrid which has helped Reece build self-esteem and confidence.
Mia is a Newcomerstown High School graduate who has been in the program since her freshman year. In college and through COVID, she has matched with a Little and has helped her through the unknowns of this year.
James has been matched with his Big Sister Kim and Big Brother Zach for 12 years. He is undecided about what to do after graduation but has an amazing support system encouraging him. He plans on becoming a Big.
Jimmy studies at Buckeye Career Center. He is unsure of his plans after high school, but his Big of 4 ½ years, Big Brother Dan, knows Jimmy will succeed at anything he chooses.
Joshua plans on attending college next year and going through the Big Futures program throughout this journey. His Big Brother Mark McKenzie has been there for him for four years and will continue that bond during these big, upcoming years.
Parker and his Big Brother Joe have been matched for 3 years. They both love bonding over football. This love will span into his future at Akron University where he plans to pursue a degree in sports management.
Ella has been in the program since 2011 but has been matched with her Big Sister Lindsey since 2018. She is enrolled in the hospitality group at Buckeye Career Center and wants to get a job and her own apartment when her program is over. Lindsey has helped Ella pursue her goal of becoming independent.
Diamond has been in the program since 2009. Although she does not have a Big at the moment, she has grown self-confidence during those years. She doesn’t have any plans for the future yet, but her growth is undeniable.
Longest Community-Based Match
Jennifer Webster and Amber Albritton
Big Sister Jenn and Little Sister Amber matched on 8/15/2011. They have an incredible relationship and enjoy doing relaxing things together since Amber is so busy. This match is so strong, that Jenn had Amber be her junior bridesmaid at her wedding.
Longest School-Based Match
Michelle Catlett and Destiny Burkhart
Big Sister Michelle and Little Sister Destiny have been matched since 10/18/2016. They like to have lunch together and talk about life. Michelle has been a positive support for Destiny and models a healthy relationship.
Melissa Naylor and James Rockwell
Big Sister Missy and Little Brother James have been matched since 10/26/2016. The two enjoy meeting for lunch and discuss James’ plans and dreams for the future. He wanted to get into a culinary program after high school. Missy has helped James improve his grades, while supporting him in building his self-confidence.
Above & Beyond: Zack Denham & Family
Zack, his mom Kim, and the rest of his family have gone above and beyond for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Big Brother Zack is paired with Little Brother James and does an amazing job with him. This year, with Zack away at school, Kim was able to keep taking James on outings to show how much the family supported him. Not only does Zack and his family support his Little, but they also spread the word about recruitment and largely contribute to fundraising efforts.
Advocacy Award: Get Level Podcast Network
Josh from the Get Level Podcast Network has greatly supported the recruitment campaign. He has created podcasts where the Big Brothers Big Sisters values are showcased. Through his podcast, Josh played a large role in recruitment and shared important information from the agency.
School Partner of the Year: Brown Local School District
Brown Local School District has done an amazing job in its investment in mentoring. They have let their students be flexible in hours because they see the importance of their students having these healthy relationships. Not only does Brown Local do what’s best for their students, but they also create a culture where everyone feels welcome and show that they value these programs.
Congratulations to all the award winners and thank you for all that you do!
If you’re feeling inspired by these individuals and what Big Brothers Big Sisters stands for you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram. To take it one step further, tag a friend or become a Big Brother or Big Sister to help keep up the mission of defending potential for youth in our community. You can visit bigs4kids.com/volunteer or call 330-339-6916.