Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County (BBSVC) is honored to announce the agency’s “Bigs of the Year,” a recognition awarded to the volunteer mentors who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to their “Littles” (youth mentees) and who have gone above and beyond in their efforts for the agency as well as the greater community.
“We’re celebrating our agency’s 50 years of service to Ventura County, and so 2020 is an especially powerful time for us to recognize the volunteers who make a lasting, positive impact through youth mentoring and community service,” says Lynne West, CEO of BBSVC. “We are so appreciative of the mentorship they provide their Littles, and the ways they shape our communities through the care, respect, and value they bring to this important work.”
BBSVC’s Bigs of the Year 2020 are:
Amelia Aparicio – In addition to being a Big, Amelia has developed and has run the Fillmore High School Mentor Program for nearly 15 years. She has been matched with her current Little, Natalie, for nearly 4 years. Together, they have focused on discovering Natalie’s voice and connecting Natalie with resources she needs to thrive; from getting Natalie glasses so that she could follow her class instructions, to building healthy habits like cycling and hiking, to avoiding risks like drugs and alcohol, Amelia has been a steadfast guide. Amelia has also been a core advocate in organizing the community’s Dia de Los Muertos festivals – rallying local businesses, inviting indigenous dancers, building ofrendas, and much more. Most recently, Amelia was invited to speak to Fillmore’s City Council about the FHS Mentor Program. But instead of taking the mic, Amelia instead let her Little shine; and when Natalie spoke, she shared her mentoring journey with Amelia and reported that her goal was to become a positive mentor like her own Big Sister.
Kevin Gamboa – Kevin has been matched with his Little Brother, Dorian, since 2016, and has gone above and beyond in supporting Dorian’s well-being. He demonstrates this by never backing away and by being available to talk to his Little at any time – day or night – to help Dorian get through rough patches. Kevin and Dorian find it fascinating to listen to and learn from each other, and they prioritize their conversations together. Kevin has also taken on the responsibility of President of the “Big Ambassadors” group (a committee of Bigs who meet on a regular basis to discuss volunteer needs, requests, and who represent the agency at the volunteer level). He also spearheaded and now co-moderates the “Ventura County Bigs Hangout” facebook page, which is an online opportunity for current mentors and past mentors in good standing to share ideas and plan group meetups. Whenever there has been an opportunity to help the agency, Kevin always raises his hand.
BBSVC will formally recognize the 2020 Bigs of the Year, as well as other volunteers and community partners, at the agency’s annual Big Appreciation Night on April 1 at Yolanda’s Mexican Restaurant in Camarillo. Amelia and Kevin have also been nominated as the 2020 Bigs of the Year for the BBBS California State Association and 2020 Bigs of the Year for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBSVC) has been helping youth in Ventura County and neighboring communities realize their potential for nearly 50 years. Facilitating more than 1,500 one-to-one mentoring relationships annually, BBSVC is committed to bringing this life-changing program to every child who needs it. BBSVC is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that depends on private donors for 75% of its funding. To donate, become a mentor, or learn more about BBSVC, please call 805-484-2282 or visit www.bbsvc.org