Here are this year's four finalists for Big Brother & Little Brother of the Year! The winning Big Brother and Little Brother of the Year will be announced in April.
Adam Miller & Daryl
Adam and Daryl have been matched for over 4 years. Since day one, Adam has been intentional in getting to know Little Brother Daryl and helping him figure out where he sees himself and what he wants to do with his life. During their Match, Adam has helped Daryl with ACT Prep, college visits, and everyday life lessons. Adam even helped Daryl get a checking account. Throughout the years, Adam has been able to introduce Daryl to different members of the community and shown him the importance of how to carry himself, how to have a strong presence, have confidence, and be inclusive to everyone.
Adam was instrumental in helping Daryl figure out the process of choosing a college and in obtaining scholarships. Adam continues to be there for Daryl as he navigates college and will be there at the drop of a hat whenever Daryl needs something. Adam has taken on his role as a Big seriously, and with a touch of humor and style! He continues to show that he believes in all that BBBSKC does, whether it’s raising money as a BFKS Team Captain, (former) Most Wanted Auction Honoree, Diversity Task Force member, or Board member!
"From the moment I met Adam, I knew he would be the perfect match for my son Daryl,” said Daryl’s mother. “Not only could he make Daryl laugh, but he knew how to get through to him about the important things in life, too. He has helped my son through really tough times, really tough decisions, and continues to be there for him now as he continues his journey in college. I can’t thank him enough. He's more than a role model — he is what my son strives to become: a caring, compassionate man who gives everything he has without hesitation. We need more people like Adam in this world."
"Adam has definitely been the best mentor I could have ever asked for,” said Daryl. “Watching Adam and who he is has made me change the way I carry myself not only as a person, but as a man. He is the main male figure and father figure in my life, and though he is always busy and always involved, he has always made the time for me whenever I needed it and to just be there.
Seeing how Adam carries himself and how hardworking he is, not just in his career, but in all he does and puts into the community too, has given me the drive to be successful and made me know the importance of giving back to my community. Having Adam as my Big has given me the opportunity to see and know how I want to live in the future.”
Logan Daniels & Marquis
Logan and Marquis have been matched for over 3 years. Logan goes the extra mile not only for his little Marquis, but also Marquis's mom. Logan and Lesley often communicate to discuss how to best support Marquis. Logan has attended several parent teacher conferences at Lesley’s request. About 5 months into his Match, Marquis's mother experienced a stroke. Logan offered his support by visiting the hospital and posting online with her permission and was also very supportive of Marquis during Mom's rehabilitation.
Early on in the match, Logan and Marquis bonded over science experiments and STEM boxes together. Logan has also helped Marquis set up his first savings account, learn about healthy eating, set goals for his future, and gain additional life skills as their time together progresses. Most recently, Marquis became involved in a social fraternity at school; after enrolling, he found out Logan was also part of the fraternity, and they love sharing in this together. Marquis likes to remind people that Logan was a previous teacher, and therefore is a big help to Marquis in his academics by providing patience and excitement for learning. Since meeting Logan, Marquis has been nominated into the Junior National Honor Society at school and has also joined the debate team.
"I feel that Logan is an extremely significant Big to my son because he is teaching Marquis core values as a young man that will carry him in his adult years,” said Lesley, Marquis’ mother. “He shows interest in his everyday activities, and he also helps him develop socially by teaching him manners, helping him to focus on his schoolwork, and making sure that he is focused and staying attentive to his long-term goals. He takes my son on outings that will teach him responsibility and social skills that will last him a lifetime.”
“Logan is a kindhearted person who goes out of his way to help other people,” said Marquis. “Logan can teach me many things, especially life perspective. He encourages me in everything that I do and gives the best advice. He tells me to ‘stay ready, so I don't have to get ready,’ so I can be prepared to chase my dreams. He is the one person I can go to when times get tough that I can trust. He is the best Big Brother and role model and is deserving of all celebration. I care about him and he cares about me, and that makes me feel happy and good."
Dennis Ngo & Isaac
Dennis and Isaac have been matched for over 8 years. What makes Dennis an extraordinary Big is his consistency with Isaac. Throughout the last 8 years, Dennis and Isaac have hung out every single week (sometimes twice a week). Dennis is a positive influence in Isaac’s life and is a reliable friend that will show up for him regardless of what is going on in the world. Laser tag, paintball, bowling, and arcade games are just some of the few fun things Dennis and Isaac have done together throughout the years.
Dennis has been able to show Isaac that he is trustworthy and that he will show up for him. Dennis taught Isaac how to drive, has helped him with his homework, and encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Dennis’s mentorship in Isaac’s life has impacted more than just Isaac. Isaac has two younger siblings and feels like he needs to be a positive role model for them. According to Dennis, he is just that. While Isaac is a mentor to his siblings, Dennis is a mentor to him. Isaac has been able to learn what it means to lead because he has Dennis leading him. Just as Dennis is compassionate, generous, and patient with Isaac, Isaac is compassionate, generous, and patient with his younger siblings.
“I am so thankful that Dennis is in our lives,” said Isaac’s mother. “Dennis has been able to give Isaac the one-on-one attention that he not only needs, but deserves. He has not only been a blessing for Isaac, but for our whole family. He doesn't just make Isaac a better person, but he makes all of us better people. He is a part of the family. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor for my son.”
“One of my favorite things to do with Dennis is watch movies,” said Isaac. “We have a tradition of watching superhero movies together. A lot of these superheroes are strong, selfless, and kind. Dennis is a superhero to me because he has all these characteristics as well.”
Eric Gormacki & Manasseh
Eric and Manasseh have been matched for 3 years. Eric has stood apart as a Big Brother because of his character, his support for Manasseh, and his ability to connect with Manasseh, allowing their friendship to grow even in the middle of a global pandemic. Eric has helped Manasseh come a long way academically since they have known one another. Not only has Eric been a great support for Manasseh's schoolwork, but he has also helped him develop relationally in building friendships with peers and players on his basketball team.
Manesseh attends and lives at a boarding school in Atchison, Kansas during the school year, about an hour away from Kansas City. In order to get some extra time with Manesseh, Eric has been volunteering to take and pick up Manesseh from school on many weekends and breaks. Eric says that the time spent driving to school together has been invaluable for their friendship, as they have been able to have deeper conversations and really check in with one another. Eric has been able to provide Manasseh with many new experiences and opportunities that have cumulatively helped to build Manasseh's confidence and given him the chance to see many things from a new perspective.
“Eric has gone above and beyond by always being there for my son,” said Manasseh’s mother. “Eric loves Manasseh like his own young brother. Looking back to when he was matched with Eric and where he is now, I am proud to say that my son has made a 180-degree turn evidenced in his grades and behavior. Manasseh's resilience and mental well-being wouldn't be where it is now without Eric’s dedicated help and sacrifice of his personal time. I am at a loss for words to use to express how grateful I am.”
“Eric has helped me become a better and wiser person,” said Manasseh. “When I was younger and got in trouble or faced something terrible, I would call Eric, and he gave me advice. Eric motivates me to keep my head up. He always tells me to keep working hard and never give up. Without him giving me advice and trying to help me be a better person every day, I would not have learned any new valuable life lessons. He has impacted my life in a very positive way — he has helped me learn and encourages me to be myself.”