Every year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire recognizes two outstanding matches that illustrate how the mentoring relationship helps youth achieve their biggest possible futures and makes a long-lasting impact on the mentor. The 2024 Bigs and Littles of the Year finalists all have distinct, inspiring stories that illustrate our mission.
Keep reading to learn more about our finalists for Bigs & Littles of the Year! The two winning matches will be announced on January 30 as part of National Mentoring Month.
Erin McAndrew and Siena | Matched since 2022
Grandpa Kirk came to Big Brothers Big Sisters seeking female role models for each of the six granddaughters he had recently taken in, leading to a transformative connection between his grandaughter Siena and her Big Sister Erin. Despite initial challenges, Erin's commitment and creative approach to mentorship, like using journals for teaching gratitude, fostered Siena's personal growth. Seeing the positivity and value in being a mentor, Erin joined our Big Recruitment Committee and now shares her and Siena's story, creating a ripple effect in her community.
KELLIE SALMERON AND IVANNA | Matched since 2021
Ivanna grew up an only child and often felt isolated, which only worsened during the pandemic. Her parents enrolled her in our program hoping to find a mentor who could help Ivanna come out of her shell and experience more of life, and the found the perfect positive role model in Kellie. With Kellie's encouragement, Ivanna has overcame many of her social anxieties, even joining the school volleyball team, and is now blossoming with confidence. Kellie's and Ivanna’s intertwined families even share events like carne asadas, which have become an important source of culture and connection in all of their lives.
ED THOMPSON AND RONNEY | Matched since 2022
At 13, Ronney joined our program facing challenges like financial instability and managing an ADHD diagnosis. He had also lacked a consistent male role model in his life until he was matched with his Big Brother Ed. Through monthly outings and consistent support, Ed created a safe space for Ronney, fostering newfound confidence personally and academically. Ed's commitment extended beyond their regular meetings, becoming an integral part of Ronney's family and even supporting them during significant life events. This extraordinary bond emphasizes the lasting positive impact mentorship can have on a young person and their family's lives.
QUINTIN KITTREDGE AND FELIX | Matched since 2019
Over the last five years, Kitt has became not just a mentor, but a true friend to Felix when he needed it most. He is exceptional at listening, offering guidance, and supporting Felix without judgment. Despite all of the uncontrollable challenges life has put in front of him, Felix has surprised everyone with his resilience and positivity. It's clear that he carries a heart full of love and gratitude because he has a Big Brother who has shown him those very things.
XAVIER QUINTANAR AND ANDREW | Matched since 2022
Xavier recognized and believed in Andrew's potential from the beginning, making it his mission to always be there to support his Little's dreams. Initially, Andrew expressed interest in a career in law enforcement, so Xavier guided him towards the police academy. When Andrew discovered his true passion lay elsewhere, Xavier supported the shift, signing him up for financial literacy courses and college tours. Now Andrew is contemplating degrees in engineering or criminal justice with the confidence to dream bigger thanks to his Big's unwavering support and guidance.