Each year, Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest honors two outstanding matches: Big Brother/Little Brother and Big Sister/Little Sister to serve as the statewide representatives for the National Big/Little of the Year Awards held in late June each year. These matches are nominated to illustrate how the mentoring relationship helps Littles achieve their biggest possible futures and makes a long-lasting impact on the Big, too.
Nominees are chosen for these characteristics:
Meet Big & Little Brother of the Year, Big Sister Segun DeSilva and Little Brother Mason!
A Match That Leans on, and Learns from, Each Other:
Big Brother Segun and Little Brother Mason were matched two years ago in Hillsboro. In this short time, they have been through a lifetime of shared experiences and struggles that have bonded them together forever. Sharing a meal is always one of the suggested activities to start a mentoring relationship. Segun took this a step further and helped Mason embrace his Hawaiian culture. He introduced Mason to fellow Hawaiian’s, shared traditional foods, took him to his first play and helped him when he struggled with racist behaviors by others. Even though Mason loves playing basketball, Segun is not capable of playing, so instead they bonded as fans watching games. Segun and Mason have also both lost close family members. Dealing with trauma and grief was initially hard for them, but it has now brought them together. Spending time together as friends has also helped Mason overcome his struggles in school and reflect on being a better person from decisions he has made in his young life. Segun says that “Mason can tell me anything, he knows I won’t judge him, and we’ll focus on simply him being the best Mason and I’ll still try to be the best me. It’s a perfect match.”
Meet Big & Little Sister of the Year, Big Sister Krystal Anderson and Little Sister Elisa!
This Friendship Jumped Off to a Great Start on Leap Day:
Big Sister Krystal and Little Sister Elisa were matched on Leap Day in 2012. Eight years later and their relationship is stronger than ever. Krystal has been there throughout Elisa’s journey starting a new life in the United States with her mom and two sisters from Mexico. She has helped Elisa overcome shyness and learn how to express herself through art. She also helped her get accepted to the very competitive ZooTeens volunteer program at the Oregon Zoo. For Krystal, Elisa has given her more beautiful experiences than she could have ever imagined. “I love having Elisa’s youthful energy in my life. I feel like we have a genuine friendship which I have come to realize is kind of rare and special for someone in her 30’s to share with a teenager.” Elisa will be a senior at Roosevelt High School next year. She wants to attend Oregon State University for pre-med and then attend medical school.
From July 2020 through June 2021, these two outstanding matches will serve as ambassadors for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Oregon and SW Washington. They will attend and speak at BBBS community events, participate in media interviews, and encourage others in the community to support youth mentoring.
Segun/Mason and Krystal/Elisa are shining examples of the power of mentorship and the impact that Big Brothers Big Sisters has on the lives of both the youth and the volunteers. We congratulate them for being chosen from 500 matches in the Portland/SW Washington area.