In the News

The BIG News, February 2016

February 2017

Dear Mentors & Friends,                         

On February 7 we were thrilled to announce our 2017 Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year at Momo's Pizza. Thank you to Momo's and Demont Insurance for allowing us to celebrate our volunteers who are so deserving of recognition.  Congratulations to Big Brother Edward Neuse and Big Sister Samantha Sexton! These outstanding individuals have changed the lives of their Littles for better forever!

We are recruiting teams and sponsors for our 2017 Bowl for Kids' Sake. Bowl for Kids' Sake is a fun and easy way for you and your company, friends, or family to support the life-changing work of Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you care about kids and can spare an hour to have fun with your friends, then Bowl for Kids' Sake is for you! For more information about this fun-filled event check out


Alva Striplin, CEO



Board Member Spotlight


Vice Chair MaryRose Sirianni

This month we recognize Vice Chair MaryRose Sirianni. As Vice Chair, MaryRose is responsible for overseeing board development and recruitment. With 28+ years’ experience in telecommunications policy, she has held a position with AT&T as External Affairs Manager since 1998.

She was the recipient of the Presidents Volunteer Service Award in 2012 and 2014 and has been a Big Brothers Big Sisters Board Member since 2013. She earned her Engineering degree from West Virginia University and her MBA from Florida State University.

Thank you MaryRose for your longstanding involvement with our agency!


Where's a purple bin?

This month we recognize Aloft Hotel for hosting a donation bin. Aloft offers numerous amenities for guests including free and fast Wifi, pool tables, a swimming pool, room service, and a trendy lounge. Providing comfort for clientele is Aloft’s priority as well as investing in charitable initiatives. Thank you Aloft for supporting our agency as our bin partner!


Florida United Business Association

Florida United Businesses Association (FUBA) is a lobbying and trade association representing small businesses in the state of Florida. As the Small Business Watchdog in Tallahassee, FUBA is both your lobbyist in the State Capitol and your source for education on state laws and regulations that affect your business. Big businesses have traditionally dominated the state political arena through campaign contributions and private lobbyists. For small businesses to be heard, they must band together and speak with one collective voice.

As the Small Business Watchdog, FUBA speaks to lawmakers with the collective clout of thousands of small businesses statewide. We get results by focusing the concerns and voting power of our membership directly to decision-makers.

As your voice in Tallahassee, FUBA ensures that your concerns about higher taxes and excessive government regulation will be heard by lawmakers.




During this time of year we are reaching out with a small but impactful way for you to help us match more children with caring mentors, simply click on the number 15 and sign up to give $15 on the 15th day of each month!

Donate Today!















Samantha and Ashaunti have been matched in our community-based program for 3 years and counting! Over the years, their activities together have included attending sporting events, visiting museums, and taking cooking classes together.

Their time together has been marked by much more than their activities though. Samantha has continuously tried to expose Ashaunti to new experiences and perspectives, and Ashaunti has done the same for Samantha! They have mutually encouraged each other's desire to give back to the community.

In Ashaunti's own words "My big sister and I love helping and taking care of those who need and don't have." After Hurricane Hermine came through Tallahassee, Samantha and Ashaunti volunteered together through the Red Cross to help those affected by the storm. Ashaunti’s mom said that Samantha encourages Ashaunti to believe in herself and what she can accomplish if she stays positive and focused.


Edward and Diovai have been matched for two years in our school based program. He enrolled in our program shortly after leaving the Air Force and has shown nothing but devotion in his role as a Big. Ed is always trying to make learning fun for Diovai and apply what they learn to greater life situations. One week, they were about to play chess on Ed’s magnetic set, and Diovai got distracted by the magnets. Instead of playing chess, they decided to look up information on magnets together, and checked out a book about them.

Diovai says that he loves the science projects they work on and that sometimes they build cool things and share them together with his class.

Ed’s mother has told us that Diovai’s new-found interest in school and something outside of himself has led to him taking on a greater role in caring for his younger brother. Ed has said that he was so proud when Diovai told him that he was going to make a point of being a positive role model for his baby brother so his brother would have the same type of learning experiences as he gets with Ed.
When staff asked Diovai how Ed shows that he cares about him, he replied, “He doesn’t have to, I just know!”




Samantha has been matched with her Little, Ariyonna, since 2014. Samantha has said that Ariyonna is remarkably special and that their relationship has undoubtedly changed her. Samantha describes Ariyonna as being an exceptionally bright personality that carries her fascination for the world with her everywhere she goes. Ariyonna loves the adventures that reading can take her on, so the two have spent many hours in the library together.

One of their favorite memories together was when Samantha brought her guitar to school to see what Ariyonna would think of making music. Apparently, Ariyonna wrote a short song that day and the two of them sang it together!

Samantha says that they like to go over Ariyonna's dreams and passions at least once a year so they can talk about how they can make them come true.
Samantha's exact words were:

"As we progress into our third year together, I will do my best to enliven her passions and remind her that anything is possible; as she has consistently reminded me."
Ariyonna said, “Samantha has made my life more joyful and happier each time I see her; I’m so grateful to have her as a Big Sister.”


Joanne and her Little, Azia, have been matched in our school based program for just over 2 years.

Joanne says she approaches mentoring with a mindset based off of an old African proverb: "If you want to go fast you can go alone, but if you want to go far, you should go together."

Joanna and Azia both like how similar they are to each other. Almost like real sisters! They have a strong mutual passion for reading and playing games, and have spent a lot of time together doing both.

Joanne has also said that she sees a lot of herself in Azia's positivity. They both try and maintain the best outlook possible, regardless of the situation.

Azia said “Joanne is a very helpful mentor. I ask her to help and she will. She is very nice, sweet, and smart. She has helped me improve in science and language arts. You learn a lot more stuff when you have a mentor.”


Walker has been matched with his Little, Jeremiah, in our community based program for almost 3 years now! Jeremiah loves football and he really enjoys attending FSU football games with his Big.

On one of their outings at Fun Station, Jeremiah hit the jackpot twice! Winning over 2,000 tickets!! Jeremiah has said that he loves spending time with Walker and Jeremiah's mother has commented many times on the difference Walker is making in the life of her son. She says he is really buckling down in school and doing a lot better in his relationships with friends and family.

When asked to describe Jeremiah in two words, Walker picked "Fun Loving," which we can definitely see in the many pictures we have received over the years. Walker stated that volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters is the best thing I’ve ever done. I was matched with not only a lifelong friend but a little brother I hope to inspire as much as I’ve been inspired by him.


Etienne has been matched with DeVaughn in our community based program for almost 4 years. When asked what they like about each other, both Etienne and DeVaughn brought up how funny the other person is! DeVaughn even said that when Etienne sings in the car, he sounds like Alvin!

Etienne has made a significant impact on DeVaughn's life, helping him improve both academically and personally in his relationships. Etienne and DeVaughn are both very big sports fans and on their first outing, Etienne took DeVaughn to his very first basketball game.

DeVaughn's mom says she loves the "try-your-best" attitude that Etienne has instilled in her son. Etienne makes sure DeVaughn doesn’t veer off onto the wrong path and if he does he reminds him of the ways to become a success! He also encourages him to play sports and without him, I do not think my son would have such a great passion for basketball.

In DeVaughn’s words, “I love my Big Brother because he has supported me and helped me achieve my goals in and out of school.”



There are many ways to support Big Brothers Big Sisters

For more information about how to become involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend as a sponsor, supporter or volunteer please call Jeanie J. Booth at 850-386-6002 or email


565 E. Tennessee St. // (850) 386-6002 //  



© 2017 Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend

565 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee, FL 32308
If you wish to stop receiving this monthly newsletter
To prevent mailbox filters from deleting mailings from Big Brothers Big Sisters, add
BIGNEWS@bbbsbigbend.orgto your address book.

Privacy Policy | Contact Us |

Follow us You TubeTwitterFacebook

© 2017 Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend * 2477 Tim Gamble Place, Suite 200 *  Tallahassee, FL * 32308 * (850) 386-6002