With each successful match by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley, there is a big impact on the lives of the adult mentor and child — the Big and the Little.
The Quad-City-based Big Brothers Big Sisters will celebrate a few of its standout matches as well as other supporters at its 2017 Big Impact Awards dinner Tuesday. The recognition event, to be held at Moline's Stoney Creek Hotel and Convention Center, also will recognize the nonprofit's Gold Standard Award designation by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Jay Justin, president and CEO of the local organization, said the annual event honors all the Big and Little matches, but six matches will receive special recognition this year for exemplifying "best practices in a mentoring relationship."
"While most of our Bigs do a fantastic job mentoring their Littles, these individuals were recognized and brought forth for an award by their Match Support Specialists," he said.
The specialists — who act as match coaches — nominate those "they believe have done outstanding things and overcome some obstacles," he said. Once nominated, the Bigs write a reflection piece about the past year and finalists are selected by the agency's board and staff.
Three local businesses and two individuals also will be honored.
Beth Clark, development director, said the business partners provide financial support as well as volunteers. "The viability of the organization rests upon the shoulders of both our mentors and our supporters."
The awards to be presented are:
2017 Big Impact Awards for Mentoring: Rookie Match of the Year, Sloane Hugaert, Moline, and her Little, Emma; Elementary School Match of the Year, Jackie Zachmeyer, Milan, and her Little, Harmony; Middle School Match of the Year, Mary Thee, Davenport, and her Little, Cyrus; High School Match of the Year, Adrianna Vargas, Bettendorf, and her Little, Skylynne; High School Match of the Year, Julie Landwehr, Sheffield, Illinois, and her Little, Renee; and Match of the Year, Jim and Polly Brownson and their Little, Brandin.
The Iowa Mentor of the Year award, previously announced is Rose Strickland, Muscatine, and her Little Anabelle.
2017 Community Impact Awards: Estes Construction, IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union and UnityPoint Health–Trinity.
Tom Hannah Service Awards: Joe Farrell of Clinton and Matt Howard, Bettendorf. The awards are named for Hannah, a longtime mentor still serving as a Big after more than 20 years.
In addition, the agency will celebrate its Gold Standard designation earlier this year by the national organization, which ranks the local organization among the top 15 agencies, out of 302 agencies in the United States.