8th Annual Match Graduation

On Thursday, June 8th, 2023, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSAZ) hosted our 8th annual Match Graduation ceremony for matches who have reached the end of their program participation due to their age or high school graduation status. This event is a way to give appreciation to the Bigs and Littles who have committed years of devotion to each other as well as to the BBBS program itself. The celebration began with mingling, a slideshow of our graduating matches’ photos from over the years, a taco stand, and aguas frescas from Rigoberto Taco. Bilingual Program Specialist and former Little Sister, Priscilla Ramos, opened up the evening and gave a warm welcome to our Keynote Speaker, Khamiliah Valles. Khamiliah is currently a sophomore at Arizona State University and is a former Little Sister in our program. She shared the importance of resiliency through life, navigating change, and the challenges that come along with it. More so, Khamiliah spoke about the many resources and invaluable community that are available to her because of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Although her match officially graduated from the program, she will continue to be connected to her Big Sister who has proven to be the most valuable resource to her. Khamiliah’s sentiment regarding her lifelong connection was echoed through match stories shared throughout the evening. 

BBBSAZ’s Big Future’s Program Director, Morgan Titus, had the privilege of introducing our graduating Littles and their Bigs in attendance. Each pair received a gift to congratulate them on their achievement. Bigs and Littles then took the stage and had the chance to share powerful stories about their time spent together in our program. Many matches shared more than just their favorite memories but also shared the overall impact their Big or Little has had on them throughout the years. Our longest match of the evening, a family match who had been together for just over 11 years, came up to speak, joined by the Little Brother’s mom. The Little’s mom shared how grateful she has been for the support and time the Bigs provided her and her son. The Bigs being there for her son made it possible for her to put herself through school and begin a new career. A few matches talked about how throughout the years, their potential had been sparked. One Little Sister, in particular, was struggling with her mental health, and friendships, and was failing several classes when she was first introduced to her Big Sister. She felt that because of her Big Sister’s ability to listen, provide advice and support, and be an outlet to have fun and be a kid, she turned her life around. This Little Sister will be attending Northern Arizona University in the fall. By helping her get her first job and teaching her about saving money, her Big made this next big venture possible. In turn, her Big Sister shared the fresh perspective that her Little has given her throughout their years together. The theme for all 26 matches who attended the Graduation was the impact that Big and Little have had on each other’s lives, and even more so, the impact that each family as a whole has had on each other. The sense of community was felt that evening, and it was such a special event that we look forward to hosting year after year. 

Congratulations to all of our Littles who graduated in 2023! We are so proud of all that you have accomplished and are looking forward to continuing to cheer you on along the way.

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