By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
Every year Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Alabama picks two Big Brother matches and two Big Sister matches for its Big of the Year. Of those, one of each match is slected to compete for the state of Alabama’s Big of the Year award. In 2016, both the Big Brother and Big Sister matches from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Alabama were given the honor of the state title.
Bill McPherson and Caleb were the state Big Brother match, and Amber Brown and Skyla were the state Big Sister match. On January 24 of this year, the matches met with Governor Kay Ivey for a proclamation signing for National Mentoring Month at the State House. They were joined by Caleb’s little brother Xavier and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Alabama CEO Valerie Shannon.
The Big of the Year matches went on to compete for the national title in the summer of 2017. Even though the matches did not win nationally, Shannon considers the fact that both of the submitted matches won at the state level a huge honor.
In order to qualify for Big of the Year, the matches had to be together for over two years. McPherson and Caleb were matched in 2013, and have remained close since then, with Caleb’s little brother Xavier often joining them on outings.
Brown and Skyla were matched in 2010, while Brown was still in high school and Skyla was in kindergarten. The two became so close that Brown opted to continue as her Big Sister after she graduated.
Both matches have been successful, with the children thriving in school, which are exactly the kind of results Big Brothers Big Sisters aims for with its matches.
Volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters usually start with one year dedicated to the program. The volunteers have the option of choosing school-based volunteering, which involves meeting with their matches at school, or community-based volunteering, where the matched pair go on community outings.