Two compassionate and dedicated volunteer mentors and the children they have helped navigate through some difficult life challenges have been selected as Tampa Bay’s Big and Little Brother and Big and Little Sister of the Year, the local agency announced today.
Big Brother Chris Butler of Largo and his Little Brother Elgin, who have been matched for more than five years, have been named the Big Brother and Little Brother of the Year for BBBS of Tampa Bay, the nation’s fourth largest BBBS agency representing Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties. And Big Sister Roxanne Connor of Safety Harbor and her Little Sister Megan, who have been matched in the school-based program at Eisenhower Elementary School in Clearwater for the past three years, have been named the Big Sister and Little Sister of the Year.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters are adult volunteers who are matched with children facing adversity (called “Littles”) for professionally supported one-on-one mentoring. Last year BBBS Tampa Bay matched more than 2,850 children with caring, positive role models. The impact of the relationships is significant, with 98 percent of children matched more than a year being promoted to the next grade level last year, and 98 percent also avoiding any contact with the juvenile justice system.
“Roxanne and Chris have both gone the extra mile in being consistent, thoughtful Bigs to their Littles, including full engagement with their teachers and legal guardians,” said Stephen Koch, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. “The results with their Littles are not surprising—confident, high achievers in school and in life.
Chris, a Senior Vice President in the investment products department at Raymond James, has been matched with Elgin for the past five years. He has seen Elgin grow from a young man to a high school junior,where he plays on the football and basketball teams. Chris has been able to help Elgin navigate through many challenges—the death of two grandparents, personal experiences that caused him to move between family members during his freshman year at high school, friends who had become shooting victims—keeping him on a path to success. He has become like a member of Elgin’s family.