Josh and Austin
Austin was enrolled in the program because he had been making poor choices at home and school. Austin is one of five children in the home and sometimes home life can get a little hectic. Josh was matched with Austin over four years ago and has been a consistent, positive role model since that time. He has really helped Austin to cope with some of these issues and barriers in his life.
If Austin was having a bad day, Josh would go pick Austin up just to get him out of the house so Austin could regroup and talk about issues. They do fun things such as going to the circus, Peoria Chiefs games, hockey games or sometimes just dinner and homework. This is the first year that Austin has participated in any sports or group activities. He was on the JFL tackle team where he made lots of new friends and found something that he really enjoys. Josh took Austin to practice and attended his games. Austin's parents are very pleased with the match and said that there could not possibly be a better Big Brother for Austin other than Josh. Josh has made a huge impact on Austin not only at home, but his grades, self-esteem and socialization skills have greatly improved.
Debbie and Jabari
Little Brother, Jabari, is 13 years old and has been matched with his Big Sister, Debbie, since Spring 2009! Jabari was referred to the program when enrolled Pre-K at Roosevelt Magnet School. Jabari's mother felt that having a Lunch Buddy would be able to provide Jabari someone other than his mother to talk with and to be a positive role model for him. Once Jabari and Debbie were identified as a good match, the two worked together to help Jabari with his self-esteem, school performance and relationships. Jabari is now in the 8th grade at Lincoln Middle School and is doing well.
Debbie has been meeting with Jabari consistently during his lunch periods each school year throughout the past 8.5 years. Early on in their match, Jabari and Debbie enjoyed reading, talking and having chocolate shakes together. Debbie worked with Jabari to help motivate him to maintain good behavior in the classroom and Jabari talked about liking to spend time with Debbie because she would listen to him when he would talk about his day. As Jabari got older, the match continued to talk openly and freely with each other and Jabari appreciated Debbie helping him with his school work when he needed it, sharing that she helped him to be better at his work. The match also spent time reading and playing UNO together throughout Jabari’s grade school years. Debbie and Jabari now joke that it was Jabari’s ‘life goal’ to be taller than Debbie, which he definitely has made and then some! Debbie has been able to follow Jabari from Roosevelt, to Whittier, to Calvin Coolidge and now to Lincoln. Debbie always enjoys talking about her relationship with Jabari and describes having a great and trusting mentoring relationship with Jabari.
Maurisa and Sophia
Little Sister, Sophia, is ten years old and was matched in the program because she has a difficult time forming friendships during lunch and recess, as she isn’t able to hear. Sophia has severe hearing loss in her right ear and wears a hearing aid. Her mom felt that having a Lunch Buddy would give her someone to talk to, as well as help facilitate conversation with other students. Big Sister, Maurisa, decided to get involved in the program because mentoring has always been a big focus for their family, as her mom works for DCFS and her dad is a coach. She felt that she had a lot to offer in mentoring a child in the community. She is currently a sophomore at Bradley University and is pursuing a degree in journalism.
Sophia and Maurisa were matched in November of 2016 in the Lunch Buddies program at Charter Oak Primary. During their time together at lunch, they enjoy listening and singing along to the “Wicked” soundtrack, playing card games, and talking about their weekends or families. Sophia has also begun to teach Maurisa how to draw and about Jewish holidays. Since they’ve been matched, Sophia has become noticeably more comfortable and willing to talk to others. She also has become more outgoing and has been branching out with other kids in her class. By the end of last school year, Sophia had developed the confidence to make a new friend, which was a primary goal for her when initially enrolled in the program.
Tom and Cody
Cody was initially enrolled into the BBBS program because he lacked a male figure in his life and struggles to make friends at school. Living in a home with all women, Mom says that Cody struggles to interact with his male peers because he doesn’t have any male influence so she was looking for a Big Brother who was strong, handy, and someone Cody could do “guy things” with. Then came Tom. Tom wanted to get involved with BBBS to help a child experience new things outside of the city. Tom and Cody have been matched since October of 2016 and it’s been a perfect match since day one. Cody even commented during the match meeting that “now I know why it took so long (to find a match), because it's perfect.”
Tom and Cody love fishing during their time together and Tom is helping Cody learn to identify the different fish they catch together. Cody also loves being out on the water because he gets to drive the boat! Tom has taught Cody how to play chess and recently the two made pies together for a charity auction. The match has attended several agency sponsored events such as Bowl For Kids’ Sake, the annual Christmas party, YMCA open gym outings, and a Chief’s baseball game.
Sherry and Javin
Sherry and Javin were matched in January 2015 when Javin was 6 years old. Javin’s mother enrolled Javin into the program because she wanted Javin to have someone she could spend one-on-one time with because the home is often very busy with family and Javin’s other siblings. Javin was excited to get a Big Sister because she doesn’t have any sisters at home and wanted to have someone to go get ice cream and have candy with.
In the time Sherry has been matched with Javin, Sherry has always talked about how sweet, kind and polite Javin is. Sherry embraces Javin’s strengths and hopes that she continues to be able to help Javin experience new things. Since the beginning of their match, Sherry has noticed an improvement in Javin’s school work as well as an improvement with her peers, adding that Javin has become very friendly and outing. Javin shares that Sherry is “the best Big Sister” and that Sherry is fun and silly.
Calista and Angelea
Calista and Angelea have been matched for almost 4 years. Calista has attended school functions for Angelea such as attending her Halloween parade. Calista is someone that Angelea can count on and is consistent and reliable. They attend church almost every Sunday. Angelea enjoys singing at church and attending Sunday school with the other kids. Angelea now attends a different school and Calista encourages Angelea to make new friends and do well in school. Angelea is much happier and has gained a lot of new friends.
Angelea would lie for attention or act out, but now her behavior has greatly improved and Calista has allowed Angelea to be a kid and have fun. When Angelea is with Calista she knows she is safe and can be a kid like she deserves. Calista and Angelea attend all BBBS events together. Calista always makes sure that she has time for Angelea even with Calista having two sons of her own. Angelea's demeanor changes and she lights up with excitement whenver she talks about Calista.
Dave and Travon
Dave and Travon were matched in March 2016 at Northmoor Primary School during Travon’s 2nd grade year. Travon’s mother enrolled Travon into the program because she wanted Travon to have a positive male role model in his life and wanted Travon to get help with following directions and improving his behavior. Travon was excited to get a Big Brother so he could have fun and have someone to help him do better in school.
Dave decided to get involved in the program as a Big because he understood the impact that a lack of adult male guidance can have on youth and had the time to dedicate to the program. Dave felt that he could offer not only his time, but also knowledge on topics such as baseball and basketball as well as encouraging his Little to find enjoyment in reading.
Dave is a strong advocate for Travon’s academic success and it is also clear that Travon looks to Dave as someone he can talk to when he is having a hard time in school. Not only has Dave been a positive influence for Travon at school, but Dave goes the extra mile to seek out and coordinates activities and camps for Travon to participate in during the summer.
Janet and Breasia
Janet is currently matched in the Community-Based program with her Little, Breasia. Janet, 71 years old, has been matched with 11 year old, Breasia, since May 2013. Throughout their match, Janet has been a consistent role model in her Little’s life. Breasia’s mother, Summer, says, “I love me some Janet”. Both Summer and Breasia speak highly of Janet commenting about her being such a great Big Sister. At home with her family, Breasia struggles to get the attention and encouragement she needs and deserves as mom is a single mother with several children. With Janet, Breasia is recognized. They have a great relationship and the two are very fond of each other.
When they are not spending time doing crafts together or attending Big Brothers Big Sisters events, Janet shows Breasia that sending cards and letters ‘the old fashioned way’ is still in style. Breasia says that she likes how funny her Big Sister is and says that Janet is always happy. In addition to having a great relationship with her Little, Janet has a great relationship with the agency. She is extremely easy to contact, reaches out to the agency when needed, and is always polite and friendly. She is a wonderful person and a phenomenal Big Sister. Janet is proof that it is never too late in life to make a difference.
Beverly and Dalaysia
Beverly was first matched with her Little Sister, Dalaysia, in September of 2011 at Calvin Coolidge during Dalaysia’s 5th grade year. Beverly and Dalaysia enjoyed their weekly lunches together and talked about everything from violin, reading, math and her classmate. At the end of the school year, Dalaysia and Beverly decided that they would like to continue to see each other and meet over the summer and transitioned to a Community-Based match. During the summer, the two met frequently and enjoyed going out to eat, shopping, getting their nails done, having picnics and going to the library. Beverly continued to meet with Dalaysia during her school lunches up until Dalaysia graduated from 8th grade. Dalaysia began high school at Manuel High School in 2015 and although the match was no longer able meet at school, Beverly and Dalaysia continue to have a great relationship and see each other in the community.
Throughout Beverly’s match relationship with Dalaysia, Beverly has provided Dalaysia with a consistent and strong relationship that Dalaysia could depend on. Beverly is truly a part of Dalaysia’s family. As Dalaysia has gotten older and transitioned into high school, the dynamics of Beverly’s relationship with her have undoubtedly changed with Dalaysia’s social life growing and her interests expanding, but the two remain close and it is very apparent that Beverly and Dalaysia continue to care about one another.
Heather and Halema
Little Sister, Halema, is ten years old. She was originally enrolled in the Lunch Buddies Program because she is an English Language Learner and having conversations helps her development and vocabulary. Halema’s home life is very crowded, as she has many extended family members that live with her family. She has two brothers and a sister at home and doesn’t always get the attention that she needs.
Over the past two years, Halema has made a lot of improvements. Their first year together, Halema missed a lot of school and was at risk of truancy. Heather came up with incentives to make sure that she was there. Their agreement was that Heather would bring Halema lunch if she was at school every day that week. In fact, over the last three years, Halema’s attendance in school has drastically improved. She only missed a total of 5 days last school year. Halema’s English has also drastically improved and with it her confidence. Halema used to be extremely shy and would hardly talk or participate in class. She is now very bubbly, talkative, and outgoing. It has been a remarkable transition to see Halema’s true personality shine.
Cliff and Malyk
Little Brother, Malyk, is fifteen years old and was matched in the program because he doesn’t have a lot of male interaction in his life. He lives with his mom and grandmother. Big Brother, Cliff, decided to get involved in the program because he had been thinking about it for a while and enjoys helping others. He is an Investment Services Consultant for Alliance Benefit Group of Illinois
Malyk and Cliff have been matched since February 8, 2012. Some of their favorite things to do together have been playing sports (especially basketball), going out to eat, attending sporting events, and seeing the Harlem Globe Trotters. Over the last four years, Malyk and Cliff have formed a strong bond. Cliff has been a constant support to Malyk when he has needed it most and continues to do so.
Chris and Braden have been matched for almost three years. When they were first matched, Braden was just 12 years old and didn't care about school, his behavior and had no goals for himself. Braden lives with his single mom and younger sister. A few months into the match Braden joined the school archery team. Braden soon went from getting F's to B's in school. Since the match began Braden also obtained his first job and now has plans to attend college. Braden's mom cannot say enough about the impact that Chris has had on Braden. She loves seeing her son so happy and will always be grateful for what the match has done for her son and entire family. She stated that there could not be a more perfect match than Chris and Braden.
Little Sister, Megan, is ten years old and lives in Washington with her mom, dad, and older sister. She was enrolled in the program because her therapist recommended the agency for socialization.
Big Sister, Sally, decided to get involved in the program because she wanted to help a child in the community.
Megan and Sally have been matched since July 27, 2011. Because Megan needs routine and structure, they usually go to The Blend, a local coffee shop in Washington, and read classic novels together. Before reading, they always recap what had happened in the story the week before. Sally is always amazed at how many details Megan remembers. When the weather is nice, they also enjoy spending time on Sally’s farm with the cows and horses. Sally understands Megan’s needs and makes sure to pick her up every Tuesday evening without fail. Recently, she also gave the family her golden retriever, as it has formed such a close bond with Megan over the years and seems to calm her.
Megan adores Sally and is always overjoyed, jumping up and down, when Sally calls to set up their next outing. She has also begun to make improvements in school.
Tracy and Dillon
Big Brother Tracy and Little Brother Dillon have been matched since October of 2011. Dillon’s mom enrolled him in the program because Dillon is an only child and she thought it would be good for him to have a “brother-like” figure to hang out with. Mom hoped that being matched with a Big would give Dillon someone to talk with and open up to. Tracy wanted to get involved with BBBS because he saw there was a need for mentors and he wanted to volunteer to give back. Initially Tracy and Dillon were matched because both has a great interest in the outdoors. Even after four years of being matched, most of Tracy and Dillon’s outings are spent outdoors where they enjoy fishing, canoeing, swimming, four-wheeling, and pond hockey. Tracy and Dillon also love hunting for deer, turkey, and squirrel together. During hunting season, Dillon is the trusted cameraman while Tracy handles the weapon. Tracy says that if Dillon is able to keep is grades up next fall, Dillon’s father will enroll him in a hunter’s safety course so he can learn to get behind the bow/gun alongside Tracy.
Matthew and Tim were matched in September 2011 as Lunch Buddies. Matthew’s Mom wanted him in the program to help boost his self-esteem and help him with school. Tim has been consistent in seeing Matthew each week. The two get along great and love talking about what Matthew has been doing lately. Over the years, they have enjoyed playing games, playing with small toys, studying and just talking. Matthew has struggled with some bullying in the past and Tim has been a great support system for him. Tim feels his role in Matthew’s life is to let him know that someone cares about him. Matthew can let his emotions get the best of him and that can affect his attitude in certain classes. He said that Tim has helped him calm down when he gets mad and has taught him now to not get upset. Tim has also helped Matthew with his reading and his math. Matthew likes to learn about Tim’s job as a lawyer and the two discuss what Matthew would want to be when he gets older. Matthew has always said he wanted to go into the military but now says he would also want to be a lawyer like Tim. Matthew said that Tim has been his favorite person since 1st grade and that he is very nice. Tim thinks the world of Matthew and thinks he is such a good guy. The two have an apparent bond and love spending time with each other each week. Matthew always knows when Tim is going to be there and is always excited to see him. The school has noticed changes in Matthew and have mentioned how good his relationship with Tim has been for him.
Big Sister Cheryl and Little Sister Katylin have been matched since January of 2012. Over the course of 3 years, Katylin and Cheryl have done a lot of fun outings. Some of Cheryl and Katylin’s favorite outings are volunteering at Wildlife Prairie Park, baking, going to the movies and reading books together. In the picture above the match went and got their nails done for Katylin’s 14th birthday! Cheryl wanted everyone to know that Big Brothers Big Sisters is “such a rewarding experience and invitation for others to join in the fun!”
Katylin has improved on many things during their 3 years, but most important is her social skills. Katylin loves spending time with Cheryl and is always excited to spend time with her.
Little Sister, Devyn, is twelve years old and was matched in the program because she wanted to have someone she could talk to and confide in. She has two sisters and lives with her mom and dad in Peoria. Over the past school year she has had trouble with her group of friends and being bullied.
Big Sister, Anna, decided to get involved in the program because she had been thinking about it for a while and loves that it takes a preventative approach and emphasizes a long-term commitment with youth. She is currently working for RLI as a risk analyst.
Devyn and Anna have been matched since September 10, 2015. Since that time, their match has come a long way. When Devyn was being bullied earlier this school year, Anna lent a listening ear and offered advice to help her get through it. Since then, Devyn’s confidence has really improved. So much so, that she decided to leave the group of friends that had been bullying her and find a new group of friends. For a twelve year old girl in middle school, this is no small feat.
Anna has also gone above and beyond to show her support of Devyn’s interests. This winter she attended Devyn’s dance performance at school. Devyn was ecstatic to see her there and she introduced Anna to her mom and older sister.
Though they have only been matched for a short 6 months, Devyn has already started to build her confidence and has found a more accepting group of friends to spend time with. Anna is a “big” reason for this as she has offered her the extra encouragement that she’s needed to make these changes. Anna and Devyn are excited to see their relationship grow even stronger over the next school year.
Bob and Malachi have been matched since April of 2012 and over the course of almost four years, the two have developed a close bond. Bob originally got involved with BBBS because his own two children were grown and out of the home so Bob felt that he finally had the time to volunteer and serve his community. Malachi was enrolled into the program because his mother felt that her son could use some positive male guidance. The two hit it off from the start and Mom said that Malachi couldn’t stop talking about his Big Brother!
Whether Bob is visiting Malachi at school for lunch or meeting with him on the weekend, Bob and Malachi’s relationship is strong because of their commitment to one another. Some of the match’s favorite activities are going fishing, picking apples at Tanner’s Orchard, and going out to eat. If you haven’t met Bob and Malachi yet, you can usually find them at one of our agency events such as the annual Christmas party, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, and Pizza School.
When talking with Bob, you can tell he has a lot of respect for his Little and often comments about how Malachi is great young man, fun to be with, and a pleasure to be around. Malachi and Bob both speak very highly of one another and seeing them interact together shows just how important this friendship is to the both of them.
Big Brother Josh and Little Brother Austin have been matched for over one year. In the beginning, Austin had been making poor choices at home and school.
Josh stepped in right away and talked things over with Austin. Josh was able to find out what was causing the issues. There are four other children in the home and sometimes life can be hectic. Josh has been a consistent and a positive role model for Austin. Josh has been able to give Josh ideas on how to cope with some of these barriers in his life.
Josh has been known to come over to Austin's house and work on homework together. If Austin was having a bad day, then Josh will go pick Austin up just to get him out of the house so Austin can regroup and talk about issues.
They do fun things such as going to the circus, Peoria Chiefs games, hockey games or sometimes just dinner and homework. This is the first year that Austin has participated in any sports or group activities. He was on the JFL tackle team where he made lots of new friends and found something that he really enjoys. Josh often takes Austin to practice and attended his games.
Austin's parents are very pleased with the match and said that there could not possibly be a better Big Brother for Austin other than Josh. Josh and the family are very close. Josh has also attended family birthday parties. Josh has made a huge impact on Austin not only at home, but his grades, self esteem and socialization skills have greatly improved.
Big Sister Kelsey and Little Sister Jada have been matched since June of 2012. Kelsey works for the American Cancer Society and started as a lunch buddy with Jada.
Jada become involved with the program as a lunch buddy, but her mother was happy to transition Jada’s match with Kelsey to a community based match. Kelsey and Jada have been able to share their love for sports with one another. Kelsey and Jada go to the gym together to practice the many sports Jada is involved in and Kelsey always makes an effort to attend Jada’s games.
Kelsey cares deeply for Jada but also cares for the rest of Jada’s family. Jada’s family endured an unexpected act of violence within their immediate family in December 2014 and Kelsey has been there to support Jada and her family throughout this difficult time. Ultimately the family decided it was time for a fresh start and made the decision to move to Arizona to be with other family members. This was a surprise for Kelsey but Kelsey was able to make the best out of the last weeks she had with Jada. She made bags to send off with Jada and her sisters for the long plane ride to Arizona.
Brian & Kyron
Big Brother Brian and Little Brother Kyron have been matched since April 21, 2014. They are a match in our Lunch Buddies program. Brian decided to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters after hearing about the program on WCIC. He wanted to get involved because he aspires to live in the present and have a positive impact on a child in the community. Kyron was referred to the program by his teacher because he is the oldest of five siblings at home and takes on a lot of responsibilities. His teacher felt that it would be nice for Kyron to be a little brother for a change.
During lunch, they enjoy talking about what they did over the weekend, working on homework, or studying for tests. Often, Brian will go out to recess with Kyron and they combine two of Kyron’s favorite things; math and basketball. For every math problem that Kyron gets right, he can take a shot. Brian also taught Kyron to think of three positive things when he is mad or upset.
This year, Kyron will be going into 5th grade and on to middle school. Brian is excited to follow Kyron to his new school and to see their relationship grow further.
Ric & Dominik
Big Brother Ric and Little Brother Dominik have been matched since April 2014. Big Brother Ric works for Galesburg Water Department and wanted to be a Big Brother to help a child in the community. Dominik’s adoptive mother got him involved in the program because she felt that he needed a male role model in his life.
Ric and Dominik enjoy doing a variety of activities together. Some of their favorite things to do are fishing, playing in the park, mini-golfing, and going out to eat. They have even taken the train to Chicago for the day to see the airshow, eat deep-dish pizza, and go to Lego Land. Lately, Ric has been taking Dominik to Happy Joe’s, an arcade in Galesburg, where he has been teaching him the value of saving with the tickets that he earns.
Kevin & Joseph
Big Brother Kevin and Little Brother Joseph have been matched for a little over 2 years. Their relationship has grown so much since the first outing! When asked what he likes to do, Joseph expressed an interest in cooking. The match has gotten to know each other by creating various dishes and enjoying those meals together. Recently, Kevin had to move to Bloomington for work but still drives back to Peoria a couple of times a month to see Joseph.
In December, the match was invited to our Annual Reception. In preparation of the event, Kevin and Joseph went shopping together and Joseph got to pick out his first pair of dress shoes. He was so excited to wear them and was showing them off to the BBBS Case Managers at the event.
Joseph and his family have experienced violence in their neighborhood, which has recently escalated and had a huge emotional impact on Joseph. He has been able to talk with Kevin about his feelings. Having someone he is able to open up to has helped him cope. Joseph’s mom decided it was best for the family to move as soon as possible to avoid more violence. Kevin drove from Bloomington to help the family move. He has gone above and beyond in helping his Little Brother.
Big Brother Christian and Little Brother Tre have been matched since August of 2014. Big Brother Christian works for Caterpillar and wanted to become a Big Brother because he feels that all children can benefit from more adult figures in their lives and wants to be able to teach a child something of value.
Tre’s mother Angela wanted to enroll him in the program because she wanted a positive male figure in his life since he only lives with his mother and sisters. Angela also wanted a Big Brother for Tre so he could talk with Tre about staying focused in school, encourage him to “be somebody”, and do something big with his life. Angela speaks highly of Big Brother Christian and is very appreciative of the time he has spent with Tre. In the 9 months they’ve been matched Angela feels that Big Brother Christian has already been able to have a positive impact on Tre.
This school year was particularly rough for Tre. Tre began the school year in Peoria, but due to multiple suspensions, the family made the decision for Tre to move to live with his father in Jacksonville and attend school there. Big Brother Christian was able to stay in contact with Tre and see Tre when he came to see his mother in Peoria. Recent events have caused Tre to have to move back to Peoria. Big Brother Christian has made a large effort to be there for Tre through all of these transitions despite his own very busy personal, work and travel schedule. Since being back in Peoria, Tre has been doing well and enjoys being able to see Big Brother Christian, especially when they go out to eat and play basketball.
Throughout his time as Tre’s Big Brother, Big Brother Christian has kept Tre a priority, despite the unexpected move to Jacksonville during the beginning of their match. Big Brother Christian always has had Tre’s best interests in mind and truly wants what is best for Tre. Big Brother Christian continues to be a strong male role model for Tre and someone that Tre can look up to and look forward to spending time with.
Big Sister Kristy and Little Sister Rachel have been matched since July of 2011. Big Sister Kristy works for Allstate Insurance and wanted to be a Big Sister to help a child in the community.
Rachel’s mother Melissa wanted Rachel in the program because she is a big sister at home and she wanted her to experience being a little sister.
Kristy and Rachel enjoy doing a variety of activities together. Some of their favorite things to do are mini golfing, trips to the ice cream shop, and picnics in the summer. They love making crafts, playing board/card games, painting each other's nails and Pizza School. For Rachel’s 9th birthday they took an archery class (which is her favorite sport) and they had a great time together.