Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year Honored for Utmost Dedication to Mentorship
Tampa, Fla. (June 29, 2017) — Every year, two volunteers out of more than 150,000 are chosen to represent Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) as its top two mentors. Big Brother of the Year Terence Daniels, from Cincinnati, Ohio, and Big Sister of the Year Erin Barry, from Anchorage, Alaska, were honored last night at the BBBSA National Conference Awards Gala in San Diego, California.
“Terence and Erin have gone above and beyond as Bigs to positively impact the lives of their Littles,” said Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “Because of their selflessness and dedication, both of their Littles have bigger, brighter futures ahead of them.”
Over the years, Daniels has focused on being a constant for Terrell, someone his Little Brother knew he could count on. He stayed connected with Terrell even when it was impossible for the two of them to see each other. They often play video games online together when they can’t get together in person.
“Our relationship has stood the test of time because I always find a way to be consistent in his life,” said Daniels. “When I left for six months of military training, we would write letters to each other. When I deployed to Iraq for a year, we Skyped and wrote letters.”
Terrell, who just graduated from high school with plans to attend college, join the National Guard, and pursue a career as a dentist, said, “Having a Big Brother really did save and change my life. Big Brothers Big Sisters gave me a brother I found I could trust and listen to, and he became my blood brother.”
In the six years Big Sister of the Year Erin Barry and her Little Sister Noelle have been matched, they have become friends who motivate and inspire each other. Barry has guided Noelle through her journey of dealing with personal loss, family changes, and emotional challenges.
“Mentoring a child is a special responsibility and one I take seriously,” said Barry. “Sometimes I don’t have the answers or know what to do in every situation, but I realize that’s okay. More than anything, just being Noelle’s friend/mentor– a person who cares — is all that’s really needed.”
With Barry’s guidance, Noelle has adjusted to middle school and is already planning for her college education and a big future. “Before I met Erin, my life was crazy, and I never got to get out of the house, except for school. When I heard my mom decided to get me a Big Sister, I was so excited,” said Little Sister Noelle.
The Bigs of the Year selection process begins with local BBBS agencies. Statewide winners then move on to the national competition, in which a selection committee of BBBS leaders ranks each finalist. The 2016 Bigs of the Year awards, sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, were presented at the 2017 Big Brothers Big Sisters National Conference in San Diego.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong, enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Big Brothers Big Sisters ensures that the children in its program achieve measurable outcomes, including educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 113-year history. With over 300 affiliates across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters has served more than 2 million children (“Littles”) in the past 10 years. Learn more at www.bigbrothersbigsisters.org.