Every year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America chooses two volunteer mentors (called ‘Bigs’) and two youth (called ‘Littles’) out of nearly 140,000 in the mentoring program nationwide, as the Bigs and Littles of the Year.
This year Nassau County’s Big Sister Becca Thomas and her Little Sister Ty’Lasjah have been named Florida’s Big and Little Sister of the Year. They are now eligible to be chosen for the national title, which will be named at an awards gala at a national in June.
Four years ago Becca was paired with Ty’Lasjah at a time in Ty’Lasjah’s life when she struggled opening up to others.
Area Manager Lena Ramsay said, “Ty’Lasjah seems to have really blossomed in her years with Becca. Her time with Becca has validated her sense of self and when you meet her now, she is a very happy and delightful young lady who greets you with a huge smile. By the time you are saying goodbye she is likely offering you a hug.”
Becca embodies what it means “to stay the course” and offered exactly what Ty’Lasjah needed – consistency, a safety net, and a trusted confidant.
Sara Alford, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida said, “The match between Becca and Ty’Lasjah is special because it is so mutually loving and respectful. The pair is small, but mighty. Tiny in stature and large in personality and spirit.
“They are both strong and resilient individuals who have learned to face and overcome hardship with perseverance, love, and grace. Together, they offer hope to each other and continually remind each other of the goodness in the world.
“And as different as they may seem at first, their matching genuine and gigantic smiles are immediate indicators of the love and generosity they both share with the world.”