"Brent always supported my dreams," said 18-year-old Little Brother Delaitre about his Big Brother. "I probably would not have graduated early had it not been for him."
"Shari has been one of the biggest supports in my life," Little Sister Kirsten, 17, recalls when speaking about her Big Sister, Shari. "She has helped me see who I am and who I can become."
Brent Hartsfield and Shari Wahlin became 2012's Big Brother of the Year and Big Sister of the Year — the nation's top two Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors. Shari and Brent, working with their mentees' families, helped their "Littles" overcome tremendous adversity to achieve great things in school and in life. They supported their mentees during difficult times and guided them on their paths to high school graduation and college enrollment. The "Bigs of the Year" serve as extraordinary examples of the more than 600,000 caring Big Brothers Big Sisters mentees, parents/guardians and mentors in communities across the country — including Comcast employees in 12 cities. Learn more about the National Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year and see video of their stories at BigBrothersBigSisters.org.
Brent and Shari received their awards during the Big Brothers Big Sisters National Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Comcast and NBCUniversal, the Summit included a gala — always the highlight of our annual conference — where the Philadelphia-based National Home Office gives thanks to outstanding Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country as well as our national partners who are going above and beyond in the name of our mission. The partnership theme was a clear thread throughout this year's Summit as we lauded the individuals, corporations, and foundations taking a leadership role in funding our work over the past year.
We were honored to present Charisse R. Lillie, Vice President of Community Investment for Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast Foundation, with Big Brothers Big Sisters' President's Award, given to Comcast and NBCUniversal for making a significant and innovative investment in our national mentoring network.
Comcast and NBCUniversal's generous donation of airtime for public service announcements helps us engage new volunteers, families, donors and supporters. Through the work of its employees in the innovative Beyond School Walls mentoring programs in communities across the nation, Comcast is impacting the lives of youths facing adversity. Charisse's announcement that Comcast and NBCUniversal would be renewing our partnership for another year received a rousing ovation.
We are very fortunate to have such a strong network of supporters — our volunteers, donors, parents, schools and community partners, advocates and corporate partners — who work together to make it possible for us to put more kids on the path to success. With dedicated partners like Comcast and NBCUniversal, we are able to support more families by matching children facing adversity with strong, enduring one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.