Big Brothers Big Sisters Event was a Grand Slam

Big Brother Geoff and Little Brother Razzi served as guest emcees

BBBSAZ’s annual event raises $213,000 to support life-changing relationships

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone with Event Co-Chair Teresa Strunk

Phoenix (February 16, 2018) – It was a game for the ages with a lineup that included Arizona Diamondbacks legend Luis Gonzalez and Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone. More than 550 MVPs joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization to celebrate the power of mentoring. Guests warmed up for the evening at a cocktail party where they mixed and mingled, purchased Mystery Boxes, met several of the Big and Little matches, and posed in the photo booth.

Emcee Paul Horton, Chief Meteorologist of KPHO CBS 5 and BBBSAZ Advisory Council member,
welcomed the crowd and kept the ball rolling. Big and Little matches told baseball-themed jokes and
kept the atmosphere lively. Sheriff Penzone shared about how having one caring, committed adult can
change a child’s life, and that relationship can have a positive impact on the family, the kids’ schools and throughout the community. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ President and CEO Laura Capello spoke about the organization’s program goals and how donors make it possible for the agency to match more than 1,500
youth each year with caring, supportive mentors, and provide professional support to make sure those matches are successful. With the help of Event Co-Chairs, Board member Teresa and her husband Casey Strunk, Capello also presented awards to the Volunteer Bigs of the Year, Ray Hager, Kaitlyn Ruddick
and Bill Janiga.

Board member Pam Giannonatti with Big Brother of the Year Ray Hager and his Little Brother Evan

Little Brother Evan, age 17, and Big Brother Ray shared how spending time together has enriched both
of their lives. Evan’s mom Cathy, inspired guests by sharing how the program has helped Evan grow and change from a shy boy to a confident young man. Baseball legend Luis Gonzalez talked about the mentors
he had throughout his life – personal and professional – who have provided guidance and advice along with way. The event concluded with Gonzo inviting all of the Bigs and Littles in the room to join him on stage to lead the crowd in a rousing rendition of ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’!

Thank you to our sponsors including, Grand Slam sponsor QFR Solutions, and all of the companies and individuals that sponsored Pitch In for Kids. Donations are still coming but our preliminary numbers
show that together we raised more than $213,000! This will allow Big Brother Big Sisters of Central
Arizona to serve more than 175 Big and Little matches for an entire year.

For 60 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona has operated under the belief
that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s
largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters
makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages six through 18.  We develop positive relationships that have a direct and
lasting effect on the lives of young people.

For more information contact BBBSAZ at 602-264-BIGS or

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