2019 Big Couple of the Year Finalists | Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City

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2019 Big Couple of the Year Finalists

Each year, Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City recognizes one Big Brother, one Big Sister, and one Big Couple as Bigs of the year for their extraordinary dedication to helping their Little achieve their biggest possible future. Here are this year's three finalists for Big Couple of the Year!

Erica & Tyson Ostroski

Erica and Tyson are an extraordinary Big Couple because they have consistently supported Little Brother Dylan over the past 11 years. Erica and Tyson were matched with Dylan in 2008, making them one of the longest matches at BBBS! Over the years, Erica and Tyson have used the support of BBBS to strengthen their relationship with Dylan and provide resources for Dylan to succeed. Erica and Tyson helped Dylan set goals and shared them with their match support specialist to make sure that everyone was working together.

Erica and Tyson’s commitment to defending Dylan’s potential after Dylan graduated high school is particularly extraordinary. After high school graduation, Dylan attended community college. Due to emotional struggles and turmoil, Dylan struggled to succeed in community college. Instead of backing away from the match as Dylan got older, Erica and Tyson leaned in even more as a Big Couple. They worked with Dylan’s mom to ensure Dylan had the support and resources he needed. They also talked to Dylan about what post-secondary success looked like in his eyes and what he wanted to do in his future. They leveraged Dylan’s natural skills and helped Dylan determine goals that best suited his talents and passions. Erica and Tyson’s outings with Dylan often now include Dylan’s girlfriend, which is something Dylan’s mom is proud of, as Dylan looks to Erica & Tyson’s relationship as a guide to how he wants his relationship to be.

From Dylan's mother: "Tyson and Erica have been with Dylan over 10 years and they continue to check in with him and have created a relationship that Dylan knows and is comfortable with. One of the biggest things Erica & Tyson gave Dylan was confidence in himself through meeting new people and getting prepared for life and adulthood. I give them a lot of credit because they have given him the opportunity to succeed. They have been there for every big event in his life. From 5th grade and on, they have just gone through it all with Dylan. Through angsty teen years, difficult school situations, and bad relationships, it’s always been the little things that give him confidence, and they still do that to this day. Erica & Ty are more than Dylan’s Bigs — they are family."

From Little Brother Dylan: "Erica & Ty deserve to be Big Couple of the Year for just everything they have done with me in all the years that we have been a match. They pour so much of themselves, their lives, and their love into not just me, but their other Littles as well. Erica & Ty were so helpful me to and really helped me evaluate where I want to go with school and what I wanted to do in life. During school, they help me study, they’ve helped me to learn to live on my own and helped me to see how I can do that. Erica & Ty have gone through a lot with me and have been through my ups and downs. I was able to be a kid with them when I was younger, and do a lot of fun stuff, and as I’ve gotten older, they have helped guide me, been a resource, helped with tough decisions, and have become my family."

Big Couple Erica & Tyson and Little Brother Dylan.

Matt & Joy Fulbright

Matt and Joy are extraordinary because they perfectly compliment the Little Brother MarQeies' life. They both go above and beyond to ensure their Little Brother is doing well. Big Sister Joy is a huge academic influence on MarQeies and is consistently setting high standards for him. Big brother Matt also has a powerful connection with MarQeies and has willingly stepped up as a male role-model who provides incredible amount of emotional support for MarQeies.

Both Bigs have significantly impacted MarQeies’ life by providing academic, behavioral and emotional support for him. Joy has worked hard to ensure MarQeies is academically successful and takes it upon herself to tutor MarQeies when necessary and plans their outings according to how he is doing in school. Matt has also been a huge influence on MarQeies. Matt is someone who MarQeies feels comfortable with discussing topics that teenagers MarQeies’ age want to discuss. Matt has also taught MarQeies to drive. When MarQeies has parent/teacher conferences and his mother cannot attend, Matt has no issues stepping up and attending them in her place. Matt is the solid support MarQeies' mom can lean on and depend on.

From the MarQeies' mother: "Matt and Joy are more than MarQeies’ Big Couple. They are our family. At times such as this, Bigs might give up and walk away from their Littles — but not Matt and Joy. There are moments when I feel lost and unable to assist MarQeies, and I know that I can always reach out to Matt or Joy. Just last week I was blessed to hear Joy say to me, “it’s not just you, it’s us too, remember that.” Matt and Joy are definitely a part of MarQeies’ village of love. We love their entire family — we wouldn’t have it any other way."

From Little Brother MarQeies: "Big Couple of the Year is an understatement — when it comes to Matt and Ms. Joy, they’re more like Big Couple of the Century. Almost everything that I know that didn’t come from my family, friends, school, etc., I learned from them. They are some of the best people in this world and they deserve so much. Ms. Joy is my biggest inspiration when it comes to pushing yourself in school — she’s so hard on me about school and keeping up with my grades, but it’s for the good. Matt is like a Father/Brother that I never had. I can talk to him about anything in the world, ANYTHING, and he guides me to the right decisions that I need to make. I know how to drive thanks to him; I know how to cook thanks to them both. I never want to disappoint them because they made me who I am today. Without them, I don’t know who or where I’d be. Without a doubt, they are the BEST couple in the world. I love them like no one else and they will always have a spot in my heart."

Big Couple Matt & Joy and Little Brother MarQeies.

Hannah & Clint Muzzy

Hannah & Clint have been with Little Brother Anthony & his family through some tough times, including a battle with bed bugs and a damaging house fire that left them displaced from their home and with very few personal belongings. Hannah & Clint have never hesitated to support Anthony and his family and help them get back on their feet when a disaster occurs or challenges arise.

Clint & Hannah have never wavered in their support of Anthony and his family. They are extremely proactive and never hesitate to spring to action when the family is faced with difficulties. They contact their match support specialist to fill them in on what is going on, but they are also resourceful and don’t wait to be told what to do — they just figure out solutions and make them happen. Clint & Hannah have been through several situations that might have made a Big think about bowing out, but that has never even come up with them. They are truly part of Anthony’s family and will continue to do so for a long time!

From Anthony's mother: "I have always been able to call them both when Anthony needed some extra advice on how to get through his day, and they always ask how they can help. When we lost almost everything we had in a house fire in 2018, they were so amazing. They raised money to help us stay in a hotel before our new living arrangement was ready, and they took Anthony shopping for clothes and came back with something for everyone. They are the epitome of what it is to be a Big Couple. We are so thankful for them."

From Little Brother Anthony: "Hannah and Clint are the best people I've met. I love them —they treat me like family. They've helped me with my attitude and everything about me. They teach me and show me new things. They make me feel like a good person, and they always encourage me to be better. I'm always happy when I'm with them."

Big Couple Hannah & Clint and Little Brother Anthony.