2012 Bigs of the Year
Big Sister of the Year: Sharon Lohss
Sharon and her Little Sister, Rajeeyah, have been matched for three and a half years. They have done a variety of activities together from simply playing in the park, skiing, going boating, floating the river with the Outdoor Explorers program, out to eat and walking Sharon’s dog. Sharon loves that the agency offers so much to the matches such as monthly activities ranging from making their own pizzas, to the variety of 2 for 1 offers, a free massage offered to matches andthe annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. Sharon also regularly participates in our Bowl for Kids Sake fund-raiser.
Big Brother of the Year: PJ Kolnik
She decided to become a Big Sister because she wanted to be involved in a community organization and loves kids. She said hers is “the perfect fit; the best match ever." She has also loved getting to know her Little Sister’s family. She loves to spread the word about the “awesome experience” she is having as a Big Sister. She has seen so many positive changes in Raj over the years such as an increase in her sense of self-confidence, becoming even more outgoing and social. Her most memorable experiences have been simple such as going to the playground after school. She has loved seeing her Little “just playing and having fun.” Sharon is self-employed as an interior designer.
Her Little Sister says that their match is so fun because they have “many, many, many of the same likes such as music, animals and holidays.” The best part of the match has just been getting to know Sharon . Mom was so delighted to hear that Sharon had been chosen as Big Sister of the Year that she yelled with joy and then also got teary-eyed because she is so deserving of it. Shawna is a single mom who got her children enrolled in the program because she doesn’t always have the time to do fun things with them. She said that Sharon has been a positive role model for her daughter and has also helped her to learn to trust another adult. She said that Sharon has been there not only for Rajeeyah, but the whole family through so many transitions.
PJ Kolnik has been selected as Big Brother of the year. He and his Little Brother Brian have been matched for almost three years. PJ originally got involved in the program because a friend of his was already a Big and encouraged him to give it a shot. Being a mentor has been an extremely rewarding and enjoyable experience. He is very busy working for the MSU Alumni Foundation, but always finds time to meet with Brian on a regular basis. PJ says “the several hours a week he spends with Brian mean so much to him. This has been such a valuable investment of his time”.
PJ and Brian have built a wonderful relationship over the past several years. They are always trying new and exciting things. Some of their more memorable experiences have been visiting the boiling river, a camping trip that sent them running from the rain, and cutting down their own Christmas tree. One of Brian’s favorite things to do is eat chicken strips and watch hockey games. They also love playing sports and getting outside as much as they can.
Brian’s grandma says “Brian has greatly benefited from being matched with a Big Brother. He has been able to get out into the community and try so many different things that he would otherwise never have the opportunity to do”. She couldn’t think of a better mentor for her grandson. PJ has been there for Brian from day one. They will be best buddies for years to come!