Venice, FL (November 21, 2022) – It is with a great deal of enthusiasm we announce that Harriet Thompson, (Venice) and Carlos Bates, (Sarasota) have been selected as the 2022 Big Brother & Big Sister of the Year. We are proud and honored to have Harriet and Carlos represent the organization.
“I was hesitant at first about becoming a Big Sister,” shared our Big Sister of the Year, Harriet Thompson. “What did I know about children, never having any of my own. What did I have to offer a child, and was I good enough? I soon discovered you do not have to be perfect (lucky me)! I think the most important quality of a Big is to listen, to share your life experiences (good and bad), and to sprinkle fun times along the way.”
Amanda, Harriet’s Little Sister, and Harriet have been together for 11 years. When asked where Amanda thinks she would be without Harriet, she responded, “If I didn’t have Harriet in my life, I would most likely rely on others to get me where I want to go. Early in our relationship, I struggled a lot with people’s opinions of me, and without her, I would listen to what others would say or think about me. Harriet taught me to stand up for myself and not care about other people’s opinions. Because of her, I’ve been more comfortable being my true authentic self.” Harriet and Amanda’s relationship is inspiring to say the least, and one that will no doubt last a lifetime.
Carlos is a long-time Big Brother. He first came to the agency in 2010. He is no stranger to mentoring–having a wealth of experience with both children and young adults.
Carlos was matched with his Little Brother Mihretu in 2017. They were both a little nervous. The formality of the paperwork bored them both. It was obvious that they just wanted to get on with it. They were ready for “the fun part.” Mihretu did not hide the fact that he was sizing Carlos up the whole time, with questions such as, “Why are you so tall?” which Mihretu asked, as they were getting ready for a picture. “I was born this way.” Carlos responded, and then joked, “Why are you so short?” At that, Mihretu grabbed a chair and pulled it up next to his new friend. He climbed up and looked as squarely as he could at Carlos. “I’m not short. I am tall like you!” The shutter clicked–the first moment of their wisecracking, fun-loving friendship–captured forever.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast
For over 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast has been matching youth in meaningful, enduring, professionally supported mentoring relationships with adult volunteers who defend their potential and help them achieve their biggest possible futures. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ evidence-based approach is designed to create positive youth outcomes, including educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence, and improved relationships. This past year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast has served over 1,500 youth across a 10-county footprint. Learn how to get involved at bbbssun.org.