Big Summer Challenge Helps 35 Waitlisted Littles Find a Mentor

Twenty matches successfully raised more than $35,000 over a two-month period as part of this year’s annual Big Summer Challenge. Each donation goes directly toward matching children on the waitlist with a mentor.

Big Sister Laura Olson and her Little Sister, Zuri, led the campaign with a total of $3,325 raised. The match has been one of the top fundraisers for three consecutive years. They love going swimming, shopping and exploring new places together.

Julie Zylstra and her Little Sister, Elizabeth, finished in second place, raising a total of $2,626, narrowly surpassing Michael Yau and his Little Brother, Angel, who brought in $2,535.

Big Brother Michael explained on his donation page that the challenge is about so much more than just raising money. “My bigger goal beyond fundraising is to hopefully inspire friends to volunteer and mentor, too,” Michael wrote. “It’s rewarding beyond your imagination.”

The top three fundraisers received Disneyland tickets. Laura Olson graciously donated her prize to our fourth-place team, comprised of Bonny Chou and her Little Sister, Heather. Bonny and Heather raised $2,195 and have been matched for more than three years.

“Giving kids a Big Brother or Sister provides them with encouragement and mentoring that they often lack in their lives,” Bonny wrote on their donation page. “Every time we hang out, it’s just a Saturday afternoon, but the small experiences we share set her on a different path.”

A matching gift donation of $10,000 from board members Matt and Susie Bailey helped us exceed our fundraising goal.

Participant prizes included Sea World tickets, restaurant gift cards, movie passes, manicure kits and Braven speakers. Every team was also invited to an Angels baseball game to celebrate the success of this year’s fundraising efforts. Attendees received a special package that included a limited edition BBBS shirt, sunglasses and snacks.

Thank you to all the generous donors and teams for allowing us to take 35 kids off the waitlist and provide them with the mentor they’ve always wanted.

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