On Friday, April 22, 2022, we had the honor of holding our annual gala in-person! After two years of isolation and virtual events, we gathered in support to raise $605,000 for our Bay Area youth. We had honored guests: ABC7 news anchor, Dan Ashley, Past President and CEO of East Oakland Youth Development Center, Regina Jackson and SF Giants announcer Renel Brooks-Moon speak on the importance of representation and mentorship. We had an inspiring auction with Greg Quiroga from Stellar Fundraising and amazing music provided by DJ Hightop. Thank you for joining us at this Little party to make a Big impact! Scroll down to see more from the event.
Congratulations to Big Brother Earnest and Little Brother Dae’zhon for being honored as our Big Brother & Little Brother of the Year!
You can watch their Match story here.
Dae’zhon was enrolled in the program at the time of a traumatic event and needed a Big Brother like Earnest to help him through this challenging time. When Big Brother Earnest enrolled in the program, he had previous experience of what it was like to be a Little. Earnest valued his relationship to his Big growing up and wanted to continue the same legacy.
As an Alpha Phi Alpha alumni fraternity member, Earnest and other brothers chose to serve as mentors to pre-teen and teenage African American youth living in the Solano County community. Earnest saw that Dae’zhon was very similar to him at that age.
Having Earnest as his Big Brother helped push him to launch his college dreams. Earnest helps him envision the reality of attending a university and has helped him take the necessary steps to get there despite setbacks, or fears. Earnest has helped Dae’zhon face his emotions with strength and courage. He empowers him to see the potential in what he can do. As a former Little, Earnest models achievement and possibility for the future.
Congratulations to Big Sister Janet and Little Sister Aaliyah for being honored as our Big Sister & Little Sister of the Year!
You can watch their Match story here. Viewer discretion is advised due to topics of suicide and mental health.
Aaliyah first applied to BBBSBA when she was only six years old. Her mom had a Big growing up and wanted her own daughter to have the same positive experience. Aaliyah experienced drastic household changes as a child. The support of her Big Sister mentor empowered her, helping her to build resilience in the face of these challenges.
When Janet Portley applied to the program to be a Big Sister, she had no idea it would lead to a Match that would last 12 years. At the time of Janet’s application, she was single with no kids and wanted to give her time to help in her community. Because childhood Janet had experienced some similar challenges in her childhood, she has been able to relate to Aaliyah and provide the support Aaliyah needs. She has supported Aaliyah every step of the way.
The consistent support from Janet in Aaliyah’s life has not only brought joy to Aaliyah, but also to Janet, who treasured her relationship with Aaliyah. Janet has created a safe space for Aaliyah over the years. Janet is Aaliyah’s biggest fan, and it’s clear that she champions her on in all of her endeavors. We believe in her potential and are thankful Big Sister Janet continues to be there for Aaliyah.