A Big Sister may not initially understand how much their guidance can transform their little’s life. Big Sister Bianca inspired this transformation through her ability to bridge a generational gap for her Little Sister, Alexis. After being matched in 2011, Bianca quickly realized that she needed to be that important link for Alexis so that she could grow more confident and excel in school.
When Bianca and Alexis were initially matched, Alexis’ overwhelming shyness made it difficult for them to communicate. Bianca’s continuous encouragement for Alexis to make eye contact and stand with confidence finally broke through her shell, revealing a bubbly personality.
Bianca also serves as an important generational link between Alexis and her grandmother, whom she lives with permanently. Bianca has helped Alexis maneuver through the difficulties of modern-day adolescence with issues of identity, friends, choices, school, transitions, and just providing guidance through a media-driven world where social media can pose many challenges.
Today, they are great friends and confidantes. Thanks to Bianca’s continued positive influence, Alexis has blossomed into a confident young lady who now recognizes her self-worth.
With Bianca’s help, Alexis is maturing into a healthy young woman who aspires to attend Kennesaw State University, where she can fuse her interests in art and computer sciences to become a graphic designer. Bianca’s impact on Alexis is undeniable, and she embodies what it means to be a Big Sister. This is why we proudly recognize Bianca Hughes as the 2016 Big Sister of the Year.
- Little Sister Alexis, 17
Big Brother Kamal Shakir and his Little Brother Stephon had an instant connection when they were matched in 2010. Today, they cannot imagine life without their friendship.
Despite initial shyness, Little Brother Stephon quickly recognized that Kamal, who radiates confidence and authority, came from a similar place. Both grew up without a father figure, without means, and with a desire to be successful. These shared experiences made Stephon recognize Kamal as a role model from the very beginning. Kamal, on the other hand, was expecting a tough, disrespectful kid, but instead was paired with Stephon, a well-mannered and polite young boy.
Kamal got involved with the program after he survived an accident that left him feeling like his life had a greater purpose. The match rapidly turned into a friendship fueled by mutual interests in music, sports, social engagements, and a commitment to faith. After six years, Kamal considers Stephon much more than his mentee -- he has grown into being a brother, a son, and, most importantly, one of his best friends.
Kamal’s impact on Stephon is irrefutable. In the six years they have been matched, Stephon has grown from being a shy boy with a minor interest in sports to becoming a responsible young man who was named Homecoming King, is a Varsity letterman, and is an honor roll student. After Stephon graduates from North Springs Charter High School this year, he has been accepted to Georgia State where he will commence in the fall.
- Little Brother Stephon, 17