COLUMBUS – Rodney McBride of Columbus was selected as Ohio Big Brother of the year by the Ohio Big Brothers Big Sisters State Association.
McBride, who is employed by Nationwide, was matched with his Little Brother Alonte by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio eight years ago when Alonte was in third grade. Alonte is now a sophomore who participates on his high school’s basketball, football and track teams.
Over the years, McBride met with Alonte consistently, and they discussed the consequences he would eventually face if he did not make good choices.
“In ninth grade, a light came on in Alonte,” McBride said.
Alonte was named to the honor roll the first grading period of his ninth grade year. When the second grading period came around, Alonte had achieved a 4.0 grade point average, and he has continued earning 4.0s ever since.
McBride is very proud of Alonte’s success.
“If I didn’t have a Big, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today,” Alonte said.
Bonnie Walters of Coal Run was named 2018 Ohio Big Sister of the Year.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens matched Walters with her Little Sister Jessica in 2016, and they have become very close friends.
“Jessie is a very well-mannered girl who just needs to be steered in the right direction, and I am going to do everything I can to make sure she is self-confident and gives everything 100 percent,” Walters said.
Jessica lives with her step-grandmother because her mother’s presence in her life is sporadic due to incarceration and substance use disorder. When Walters was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, Jessica was very supportive and their relationship became even closer.
Walters said that Jessica came to her one day and said if she started losing her hair, they would wear matching bandannas.
“From that moment on I knew I was going to be in this young lady’s life for a long time,” Walters said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Matching a caring volunteer with a child is only the beginning; Big Brothers Big Sisters’ professional staff stays connected with the Big, Little and Little’s parent/caregiver throughout the entire mentoring relationship, providing coaching and support along the way. Research proves that Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentoring model works. Children and teens with Big Brothers or Big Sisters are more likely to avoid risky behaviors such as initiating drug and alcohol use, skipping school and hitting someone.
Anyone who would like more information about our local Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke County agency and how they can make a difference in a child’s life should call 937-492-7611, 937-547-9622 or go to www.bigbrobigsis-shelbydarke.org.
Event sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available, and donations are always accepted. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke County is a non-profit, United Way member agency.