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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay Hits the News and raises $300,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay recently hosted the biggest Art of Helping Children Gala in the agency's history! More than 550 guests converged on A La Carte Pavilion in Tampa to enjoy our Singin’ in the Rain theme. This is the 15th year for the event. Among the night's highlights, a big surprise for 13-year-old Davone, one of the 600 kids on the waiting list in Tampa. During the gala, Davone learned he now has a big brother and met Daniel Petrilla, Asst. Vice President for PNC Bank in Tampa, for the first time.

“Davone and I immediately connected and started talking about sports and some video games,” said Petrilla. “I don't think anyone saw that coming. Even his mother was a bit surprised he opened up and describes Davone as her shy child.”

Big and Little Sisters of the Year also attended the event: Ruth Weaver, of Polk, and her Little Sister Isabella; Sioux Isgett, of Pasco, and her Little Sister Victoria (who did not attend); and De Anna Ward, of Hillsborough, and her Little Sister Sharmel.

DeAnna Ward and Sharmel are the Sisters of the Year. Ward and her little sister have been matched for ten years and DeAnna says it hasn’t always been easy, but she sees growth in her little.

“If I’ve learned anything from our ten year relationship, it’s that life is not perfect, plans change, and sometimes, you gotta go with the flow,” explains Ward. “For Sharmel to not be held back because she couldn’t read is huge. For her not to succumb to her surroundings is major. For her to graduate from high school is life-changing. For her to have the desire to do more is more than I can ask for.”

In 2012 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay served more than 1,700 youth in quality, one-to-one mentoring relationships, and by the end of 2013 are on track to serve 1,850 youth.

Here’s the story from WSTP, 10 News in Tampa.

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