Big Brothers Big Sisters of Payson honored its high school and community matches last week during its annual Big Event at Chaparral Pines.
The event is the highlight of the year for many matches, who dress up in glittery garb and dine on the roast beef buffet, toast Shirley temples and indulge in an all-you-can-eat ice cream bar in the stately clubhouse.
A decline in volunteers and donations has made the event crucial in honoring those who are still with us, said Robert Henley, executive director of BBBS of Central Arizona Payson Office.
There are only a handful of community matches and 42 high school “Bigs.”
“This has been a year of transition with new personnel within the school district and Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Henley said. “Our local fund-raising efforts have been impacted by the current economic conditions. We have not been able to raise locally the money it takes to operate the program in Payson, but the agency makes up the difference so our local program continues to function.”
It costs roughly $1,000 per match per year.
With so few community mentors, awards were only given to the high school Big Sister and Big Brother of the year.
Henley said all of the high school mentors are exceptional and most are active in multiple extracurricular activities.
This year, Kassidy McAfee was named the Big Sister of the Year and Mason Standifird the Big Brother of the Year.
Henley had this to say of McAfee: “Kassidy McAfee is an extraordinary young lady. Even when dealing with challenging situations, Kassidy comes out on top each time. Kassidy has been a volunteer for two years and mentored four children. She always shows a positive, caring attitude. Kassidy is committed to the program and it is a great honor to give her this award and a $1,000 scholarship, presented by the Kevin Dick Investment Management Group and Dana Law Firm.”
On Standifird, Henley said this: “Mason has been supportive to all of his Littles and the agency and truly went the extra mile last year. Although only his first year as a mentor, he excelled. He mentored three children, always portraying a positive attitude. His hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed and he is also receiving a $1,000 scholarship, presented by the Kiwanis Club of Zane Grey Country.”
BBBS is always looking for volunteers. For information, call (928) 472-4600.
“Please consider how you can help us to continue to provide positive role models for our youth in Rim Country,” he said.