Every year, Big Brothers Big Sisters recognizes two outstanding volunteers who have gone above and beyond as mentors. The 2022 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 27 on Thank Your Mentor Day as part of National Mentoring Month.
Big Sister of the Year Finalists
DAPHNE BURNETT | Big Sister to Ameera since 2020
Daphne has been Ameera’s biggest support system, helping her overcome obstacles by being a consistent, empathetic friend when Ameera needed one the most. Before being matched, Ameera said she did not want to go to college. After two years of mentorship with Daphne, Ameera is now excited about pursuing a career in psychiatry and is ready to start exploring college campuses thanks to a $1,000 Girls on the Rise scholarship her Big Sister helped her win.
DENISSE LOPEZ | Big Sister to Josahina since 2018
While trying to navigate the difficult transition into adulthood after high school graduation, Josahina suddenly lost the support of her family. Denisse quickly stepped in to gather the resources and funding her Little Sister needed to get on her feet. Denisse was there daily to remind Josahina of her incredible potential and motivate her to stay on the path to a bright future. With her Big Sister’s unwavering support, Josahina will be heading back to Riverside Community College this spring.
SHARYN JUNG | Big Sister to Monyka since 2018
When her mother was unexpectedly deported last summer, Monyka had to restart her life at a new home and school. Sharyn was the first person to show up to support her Little Sister and her family with anything they needed. Sharyn’s consistent presence has given Monyka the hope and security she needs to stay positive and focused on her long-term goals during such a difficult time.
Big Brother of the Year Finalists
ALEX RAJEWSKI | Big Brother to Gregory since 2018
Alex has become the positive male role model to Gregory that he always wanted to have. Drawing on his own experience growing up without a dad, Alex is dedicated to being present for Gregory, from accompanying him to Donuts with Dads Day in third grade to attending all his basketball games. Alex has also taught Gregory how to express his emotions in a healthier way, which has greatly improved his behavior at school and relationships with other children.
EDWARD FRANK | Big Brother to Derek since 2019
Edward has encouraged his Little Brother to give back to his community as a way to help improve his confidence when meeting new people. Together they provide resources to people experiencing homelessnes and regularly support other youth and families through church. Because of Edward’s mentorship, Derek now has a more positive outlook on life and has made a new group of friends at school.
MATTHEW NGUYEN | Big Brother to Isaiah since 2019
Izzy has always had excellent grades, but he wasn’t very sociable. He needed a friend to get him out of his comfort zone and show him how to be a kid. Matt has helped Izzy try new experiences, meet new people, and have more fun in life. Matt always meets Izzy where he is and is the perfect patient, caring mentor for this bright, promising teenager.