Match of the Month
June's Match of the Month
Meet Officer Pearson and Little brother Gerard, they are our June Match of the Month! These two have been matched for seven months and it appears that they are both having a fun time hanging out and getting to know each other. Their outings take place at the Charles Black Center and Harrison school, they are part of the Bigs with Badges site-based program. Officer Pearson stated that Gerard is a great Little brother to work with and enjoys meeting with him at school during lunch times. Gerard enjoys showing off his Big brother at school and at the center. Hats off to Officer Pearson and Gerard, we can’t wait to see what you learn from each other!
May's Match of the Month
Say HELLO to our May Match of the Month, Jen and Skylar! These two have been a Match for almost 9 years! According to Skylar’s mom, Kari, “Jen is family” and as Skylar goes off to college they plan on staying just as close.
Over the years Jen and Skylar have bonded over their love of cooking, trying new activities and volunteering at Cultivate Food Kitchen. Jen has been “like having another best friend. She has taken me out of my comfort zone and I’ve done things I never would have without her. She taught me to see things differently and be cautious in the world” says Skylar. The best part for Jen was watching her grow into the young woman she is today, she has even inspired Skylar to be a possible BIG one day!
April's Match of the Month
Zay and Eric have been matched for nearly 5 months, but Zay had been waiting for much longer for a match like this.
After Zay’s first outing with Eric, his mom said that he came home and talked about Eric for half the night. Eric and Zay have been enjoying getting to know each other over dinner, while shooting hoops, and while Eric introduced Zay to archery. Zay has said that he has really enjoyed learning archery, and his mom has shared that she is so excited Eric has found something that Zay is good at. Though both Zay and Eric are looking forward to the warmer weather, Eric seems to be most excited that the warmer weather means he can get Zay out fishing.
Eric has shared that he is trying to remember to capture moments of the two of them together so he has something special to share with Zay at his graduation. It is the thoughts of the future that makes everyone excited to watch this match and more importantly this friendship continue to grow!
March's Match of the Month
March’s Match of the Month is Zoey & Lauren! This match has been amazing for both Big (Lauren) and Little (Zoey). From doing fun crafts like learning how to embroider, to working on lessening social anxiety- this pair loves spending time together and learning from one another. Zoey’s grandma says there couldn’t possibly be a better match, as these two are the perfect fit!
BIGS of the Year - Southern Lake Michigan Region
Big Brother of the Year
James Stanley & Little Brother David
James Stanley has been matched with Little Brother David for seven years and counting. Over the years, James has been a consistent, steady, supportive role model for David, helping him and encouraging him in school, and being there for him when he struggles, especially this past year, his freshman year of high school. The transition to high school was a big jump for David, and it really helped to have James there to talk things through and guide him. James stays in close touch with David’s father, so he knows what’s happening at home and at school and what type of support is needed. When not involved with school activities, the two work on home projects together, building up David’s skills. They’ve shared many activities and experiences in their seven years together. James has made time for David, no matter what has been going on in both of their lives.
Big Sister of the Year
Pearl Blake & Little Sister Romiyah
Pearl Blake has been matched with Romiyah for about four years. Despite their age difference, the two have enjoyed many activities together, with Big Sister encouraging her Little to try new things and challenge herself. Pearl’s goal has been for Romiyah to do well in school and advance to the next grade every year. So far, so good! An only child being raised by a single mother with a disability, Romiyah depended on her Pearl for outings, socialization, and fun. They had to stop seeing each other in person during COVID, but stayed in touch via phone, text, and zoom. The strength of their relationship was tested this summer when Romiyah’s mother passed away. Realizing her Little will need her now more than ever, Pearl is determined to be a champion for her, helping her through her grief and the challenges she will face going forward.
BIGs of the Year - Elkhart County
Big Brother of the Year
Tony Byler & Little Brother Joe
Tony Byler has been matched with Little Brother Joe since February of 2015. They have maintained regular outings throughout the years and have done a lot of different activities together. Some of those activities include skateboarding, building things (catapult and robot), biking, attending a Harlem Globetrotter’s game, and being in a motorcycle parade. Little Brother Joe describes Big Brother Tony as, “outgoing and fun.” Tony admires Joe’s creativity, intelligence, and dedication. Joe’s mother thinks their match is perfect, stating, “Tony has definitely been a huge asset in Joe’s life!”
Big Sister of the Year
Christy Snyder & Little Sister Jazzie
Christy Snyder has been matched with Little Sister Jazzie since September 2019. Christy and Jazzie have maintained weekly outings throughout the duration of their match, except during COVID when they got creative. On several occasions, Christy and Jazzie enjoyed a Netflix movie night together, each at their respective homes. Christy even thought to drop snacks off on Jazzie’s doorstep to enjoy during their movie. When in-person outings were able to resume, they picked up right where they left off. They both love horses; it just so happened that Christy volunteers at LoveWay where Jazzie rides. When Christy discovered this, she requested to be Jazzie’s Horse Lead, and they now share that unique experience together. The two also volunteer their time serving meals at the Faith Mission. Christy describes their friendship as “a match made in Heaven,” and Jazzie and her mother agree!