TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Out of nearly 170,000 volunteer mentors, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America chooses two as its top volunteers each year. Big Brother of the Year, Sabin Lomac, and Big Sister of the Year, Laura Frederick, were honored last night at the national 2016 Bigs of the Year awards at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America National Conference Gala in Orlando, Fla.
“Both of the Bigs of the Year have changed the lives of their Littles — which shows exactly what our program does for children across the country,” says Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “Because of these Bigs, both Littles have seen educational improvements and have a desire to reach their full potential.”
2016’s Big Brother of the Year, Sabin Lomac, has been matched with his Little Brother, Lawrence, for four years. In that time, Lomac has helped Lawrence see that by staying away from gangs and violence, he can have a better life. “Before, I thought I was stuck. Now I see that there is a chance for me to own my own business and be successful,” Lawrence says.
One of Lomac’s strengths as a Big Brother is that he understands how hard it can be to resist falling into negative patterns. As a former Little himself, Lomac was once headed down the wrong path too, until his Big Brother helped him see a more positive way forward. Now, Lomac is a successful entrepreneur, cofounder of nationwide food truck sensation Cousins Maine Lobster, and even a recent “Shark Tank” winner.
“My Big Brother helped me learn the impact of the decisions I was making, and now I get to pass those lessons on to my Little Brother,” Lomac says. “Lawrence has a bright future ahead of him as long as he continues to work toward it.”
Lomac serves as a Big Brothers Big Sisters board member in Los Angeles and has been involved with the organization for over 20 years. Lomac and his business partner and cousin, Jim Tselikis, launched their own nonprofit in 2013, Cousins For a Cause, and they officially partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Lomac truly believes in the power of mentorship to help our youth find success by making the right choices.
During the time Big Sister of the Year, Laura Frederick, and her Little Sister, Emily, have been matched, they have become friends who motivate and inspire each other. Frederick has guided Emily through her journey of dealing with insecurities and anxiety and through a tough time in middle school. “Emily is such a bright young lady,” Frederick says. “Helping her work through those struggles brought us closer and frankly made us both stronger.”
With Frederick’s guidance, Emily has now graduated and is looking forward to the next phase of her life. “It’s because of Laura that I plan to attend college,” she says. “It’s because of Laura that the little girl that was failing in school is now a graduate who will soon be attending college.”
The Bigs of the Year selection process begins with local BBBS agencies for their top Big Brother and top Big Sister. Statewide winners then move on to the national competition, in which a selection committee of BBBS leaders ranks each statewide winner. The 2016 Bigs of the Year awards were presented at the 2016 Big Brothers Big Sisters National Conference sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong, enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Big Brothers Big Sisters ensures that the children in its program achieve such measurable outcomes as educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 111-year history. With over 300 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves nearly 170,000 children (“Littles”), their families and 170,000 volunteer mentors (“Bigs”). Learn more at www.BigBrothersBigSisters.org.