Every year, Big Brothers Big Sisters recognizes two outstanding volunteers who have gone above and beyond as mentors. The 2020 Big of the Year finalists all have distinct stories and serve as advocates for the Big Brothers Big Sisters mission.
The two winners will be announced January 30 on Thank Your Mentor Day, part of National Mentoring Month. This year, the local campaign is empowered by DotDotSmile. Guided by a purpose to Create Smiles and Build Confidence, DotDotSmile believes in people and helping them to a path where they can thrive.
Big Brother of the Year Finalists
JON SOLEK | Big Brother to Sebastian since January 2017
Sebastian was shy and had delayed motor skills, so he avoided other kids his age and physical activities because he was afraid others would make fun of him. Jon focused on improving Sebastian’s growth and confidence by taking him to practice soccer and basketball on their outings. Now Sebastian says he’s grateful Jon encouraged him to engage with other people because now he has friends to play with.
ADRIAN ALVAREZ | Big Brother to Jorge since October 2016
Jorge was having a difficult time in school and was taking an extra period to make up his credits. To show him what was possible with hard work and determination, Adrian invited Jorge and his family to come to his graduation ceremony for his MBA from USC. Seeing his Big Brother walk across that stage inspired Jorge to get motivated and he’s now back on track to graduate on time.
TYLER HUNGERFORD | Big Brother to Daniel since January 2015
Daniel was struggling to make friends and find a school where he belonged. Tyler introduced him to new people and put him in the right settings that allowed him to shine. With his newfound confidence, Daniel is now getting all A’s in school and is taking advanced math. He even goes out of his way to sit with kids who look like they need a friend.
Big Sister of the Year Finalists
ASHLEY DEPOTTEY | Big Sister to Aniyua since April 2017
Over the past three years they’ve been matched, Ashley has helped Aniyua become more confident and willing to try new things. While both describe themselves as shy and reserved, Ashley encourages Aniyua to engage with other Littles her age at match events to bring her out of her shell. Now Aniyua is always excited and willing to make new friends.
LAUREL NELSON | Big Sister to Izajah since November 2015
Education has always been important to Laurel, and she has made it a priority as Ijazah’s mentor. When Izajah was having a tough time in school, Laurel started working with her on a weekly basis to help with homework and school projects. Now Izajah’s thriving in her first year of middle school with all A’s and B’s.