Every year, Big Brothers Big Sisters recognizes two outstanding volunteers who have gone above and beyond as mentors. The Big of the Year winners are announced on Thank Your Mentor Day, part of National Mentoring Month.
Steve Guzman has been named our 2022 Big Brother of the Year for his dedication to his Little Brother Fabian’s growth, as well as his passion for making mentorship accessible and inclusive for volunteers and youth from all walks of life.
STEVE GUZMAN, 2022 BIG BROTHER OF THE YEAR
BIG BROTHER TO FABIAN SINCE 2019
Fabian could not wait until he turned six years old so he could get a Big Brother of his own. Fabian’s two older brothers were already in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and he saw how much fun they were having with their mentors. As one of seven siblings, he was eager to also get out of the house for some quality one-on-one time with an adult.
Little Fabian was on the waitlist for an entire year before he was finally matched with the perfect mentor for him—Steve. In the beginning, Fabian was painfully shy on outings and would only speak in a whisper. To help him break out of his shell, he took Fabian to new places, encouraged him to try new activities and to talk to new people.
These days, Fabian is the first to make new friends everywhere he goes. He even helped Steve co-host a virtual drawing night for other BBBS matches during quarantine. Fabian may only be nine years old, but Steve says he is proud to see how confidently he now carries himself and how considerate he is to everyone around him.
“I have already seen a huge change within Fabian in the time we’ve spent together,” Steve said. “He is a great kid with so much potential, and soon he will have to decide what kind of person he wants to become. The only thing his parents and I can do is be there to help guide him on the right path.”
In addition to helping encourage Fabian’s social-emotional growth, Steve has also given him a safe space to turn when life gets difficult. Last Fourth of July, Fabian’s family was involved in a fireworks accident at their apartment complex. Fabian was scared and needed someone to talk to, so Steve showed up the very next day. Steve got Fabian out of the house to help him process what had happened and share what he was feeling. Once he was finished sharing and feeling better, Fabian suggested they put together a get-well-soon package for his brother who was recovering at the hospital.
“This was different than our usual fun outings to the movies or the park, this was me being there for Fabian and his family when it mattered most,” Steve said. “Our circle of trust has only grown stronger through this tragedy. He knows he can talk to me about anything and I will always be there and have his best interests at heart.”
Steve has also taken an active role in helping recruit more volunteers from all walks of life, lending his voice to our Big Pride and Hispanic Heritage Month campaigns. He is always willing to share about his volunteer experience and make new connections to bring in the right people.
“I enjoy sharing my match story with others because I have had a very positive experience,” Steve said. “It is both a privilege and an honor to be Fabian’s mentor. So I want to encourage others in my communities to step up and join the mentoring movement. It is an important mission, now more than ever.”
To take the first step to becoming a Big, visit ocbigs.org.volunteer.