Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas Announces 2013 Big Brother, Big Sister and Big Family of the Year
Each year Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas recognizes “Bigs” who have shown exceptional service to the agency and to their “Littles.” This year the organization is proud to recognize Big Brother Paul Gehrki, Big Sister Erin Scott, and the entire Farnan Big Family as Bigs of the Year. As mentors in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, these volunteers have dedicated their time to helping children in adverse circumstances. The 2013 Bigs of the Year will be honored at our Celebrate Little Moments event on May 6th at Serendipity in Rogers.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters program matches children with adult volunteer mentors to create strong, one-to-one, professionally supervised relationships. Bigs commit to mentoring at least one year and to meeting with their Littles at least twice a month. Just spending time with a child on a regular basis can change his or her life for the better, forever.
“We know that putting a caring adult in a child’s life has a positive impact. Children matched with a mentor in our program are more likely to graduate from high school and positively engage in their community,” says Program Director, Cyndi Maddox. “The impact on our community is reached in part by outstanding mentors such as our Bigs of the Year.”
Bigs of the Year
The 2013 Big Brother, Big Sister and Big Family of the Year are Paul Gehrki, Erin Scott and the Farnan family.
Big Brother Paul lives in Fayetteville and works at Fayetteville Boys and Girls Club. Paul and his Little Brother, Isaiah, were matched almost four years ago. Since then, Paul has spurred a real change in Isaiah. Isaiah’s mom says, “Not only is Paul a mentor for Isaiah, Paul is also an advocate, a confidant, and a friend.” Paul and Isaiah like to do a variety of activities, such as watching Pixar movies, bowling, playing video games and doing yard work; and they both really love being outdoors. Isaiah said this, “Paul has changed my life by being there when I needed him most. He has been there to guide me.” Paul is a great example of a committed Big Brother who is positively impacting his Little’s life, and that is why we choose him as our 2013 Big Brother of the Year.
Big Sister Erin is married to Cosmo and is a graduate student at the U of A. Erin met her Little Sister, B’Elanna, six years ago and they have been good friends ever since. They both have a love for soccer, so Erin is an enthusiastict fan at B’Elanna’s games. Erin says, “B’Elanna is a member of my family. She was in my wedding, along with my other sisters. I have enjoyed watching her grow into a beautiful person, and I know we will be friends no matter where our lives take us.” It is Erin’s commitment to our program and the quality of her relationship with B’Elanna that led us to choose her as the 2013 Big Sister of the Year.
The Farnans’ became a Big Family almost two years ago, when Joe and Kathy decided they wanted to make a difference and also instill in their children (Emily, Mary Claire and Nolan) a sense of responsibility for donating time to community involvement. From the start, the Farnans’ invited Alex right into their busy family life. Emily has since gone off to college but has sent gifts and talked to Alex on the phone when he’s visiting the family. All the Farnans’ are consistent, patient and caring towards Alex. Alex is the oldest in his family and loves getting to be the little brother in his active mentor family. He enjoys going to watch whatever sporting event Mary Claire or Nolan are playing in and even sits by the team on occasion. It was an easy decision for us to choose the Farnans’ as our 2013 Big Family of the Year.
Want to be a part of something big? Contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas at 479.966.4366 or visit www.bbbsnwa.org for additional information.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas changes the way vulnerable children see the world and interact with it. We depend on donations to ensure child safety and provide support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain strong relationships. Our programs are proven to reduce a child’s risk of dropping out of school, becoming violent, using drugs and alcohol, and falling victim to other negative cycles that threaten our society. Headquartered in Fayetteville and providing services to Benton and Washington County, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas serves approximately 200 children per year. Learn how you can help change how children grow up in Northwest Arkansas by going to bbbsnwa.org.