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Big Brothers Big Sisters Hits One Out of the Park for PBS American Graduate

Big Brothers Big Sisters Hits One Out of the Park for PBS American Graduate

“Not a dry eye in the house” is how PBS staffers described the Big Brothers Big Sisters segment on Saturday, Sept. 28 during the American Graduate Telethon. Big Brothers Big Sisters provided the “biggest” surprise of the telethon with the reunion of Yahoo! NFL reporter Anwar Richardson and his big brother of 30 years, Derrick Jackson.

Jackson is now an award-winning columnist for the Boston Globe, but was a sports writer when he mentored Anwar. The two have a long standing rivalry in the bowling alley and Derrick showed up on set, much to Anwar’s surprise, carrying one of Big Brothers Big Sisters' custom Bowl for a Kids' Sake bowling balls.

“I hope we helped watchers of American Graduate Day to not just support good causes with their dollars, but with the human presence as well," Jackson said. "People will find if they get out there and be a Big, the relationship with their Little results in a much bigger and richer world for both of them.”

Richardson, former Little Brother who is now a Big Brother, said he was impressed to see the different organizations making a difference in the lives of young people.

“American Graduate is one of the greatest experiences in my life. I was honored to represent Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as a person whose life was changed as a result of the program,” he said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters' other guest, Miss California International Tiffany Allen, also stunned the audience with her story. Allen grew up in a family with two drug addicted parents, which caused her to be the parents to her siblings instead. Allen said her childhood memories are hunger, homelessness and even devising ways to keep social services from breaking up the family.

“I would take empty food boxes and fill the cupboards with them so when Social Services came to the house, they would think we had plenty of food," she said.

Allen says she could have easily gone down a similar path as her parents, but she had a mentor step into her life and make a difference. She also began to get involved in the pageant world to earn scholarship money after she graduated from high school. Allen is now a Big Sister and an ambassador for Big Brothers Big Sisters and said she is excited to share her unique story of being a mentor and mentee with thousands of people.

Allen says American Graduate was an opportunity to encourage others to be a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“I was honored to be a part of such a tremendous event where community outreach programs came together to stress the importance of obtaining a high school diploma and the ways in which these programs help make it possible," she said. "I'm confident that the real-life stories of how these programs changed the lives of Americans made a profound impact on viewers. I am hopeful that sharing my story on American Graduate Day encouraged others to get involved and become a life-changing mentor.”

You can watch the entire Telethon here and the Big Brothers Big Sisters segment can be found at 4:42 EDT. 

Learn more about American Graduate and Big Brothers Big Sisters by clicking here.
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