Bartlesville, OK, February 7, 2018 – Each year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma names a Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year from each of our seven sites across the state. Bigs are nominated by their Program Specialists and a vote is cast by BBBS staff in their markets. The 2018 Bigs of the Year, Derek Bransford and Carole Henry, exemplify the mission to provide strong and enduring one-to-one mentoring relationships that change lives for the
Derek became Zach’s Big Brother at a transitional time in Zach’s life, as he had just started middle school. Over the past two and a half years, they have enjoyed go-carts, bowling, playing basketball, walking on Pathfinder, and working out together at the Family Life Center. Zach plays football and Derek attends many of his games.
“I enjoy hanging out with Zach and getting to hear all about his high school experiences,” says Derek. “I know how crazy that time in your life can be, and I am grateful that I can be a part of that with him. My relationship with Zach has been rewarding and makes me extremely happy to be a positive influence in his life.”Little Brother Zach says, “I like having the connection with Derek and having someone to rely on, no matter what.”
Carole and Sierea were matched five and a half years ago when Sierea was in fifth grade, but know they will be in each other’s lives long after they graduate from the program. Her mom wanted her to have a special person in her life to call her own, since Sierea had many siblings in their blended family.
Carole and Sierea have met consistently since the beginning of their match. They started keeping a scrapbook of activities, so they can look back at all of the good times they have shared. They enjoy doing crafts, baking, attending plays, and other community events. “Being matched to Carole has changed my life. It is always an adventure. Carole is easy to be with, fun and easy to talk to — a true friend,” says Sierea.
Sierea’s mom says, “Having Carole matched with Sierea has been amazing. They get along so well and are perfect for each other. I’m thankful Big Brothers Big Sisters brought them together; Carol will forever have a big place in my daughter’s heart, along with mine.”
Carole recommends becoming a mentor: “If you just have one hour a week to spend with a friend, then you would make a perfect mentor, sharing new experiences and making memories together that will last a lifetime. It is very rewarding.” Carole states, “My match experience has been better than I could have imagined and I have gained a friend for life. We enjoy our time together.”