Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward Celebrates Bigs of the Year and School to Work Mentoring Partner of the Year at Big Thank You Breakfast

Submitted by Cindy Schutt

Group shot Bigs, Littles, Gomez, Mendez

This National Mentoring Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County celebrated its 2023 School to Work Mentoring Partner of the Year as well as four Bigs of the Year for outstanding youth mentorship at its Big Thank You Breakfast presented by Publix Super Markets Charities.

Honorees included School to Work Mentoring Partner of the Year MedPro Healthcare Staffing, Big Brother of the Year Detective Larry Scates, Big Sister of the Year Lisa Tumminello, High School Big Brother of the Year Logan Lamy, and High School Big Sister of the Year Liya Johny.

MedPro Healthcare Staffing was named School to Work Mentoring Partner of the Year for its remarkable participation in the nonprofit’s School to Work program.  Since launching School to Work last year, 36 team members have stepped up to be matched with juniors and seniors at Dillard High School in Sunrise.

Willy Gomez, MedPro CEO Liz Tonkin with her Little Sister Dajla, and Malena Mendez

Plus, the MedPro team developed a formal curriculum for School to Work, including mock interviews, resume workshops and more, as well as fun activities to better connect the MedPro Bigs to their Littles.  The curriculum was so effective that it was adapted by other School to Work corporate participants and is now a model for the program.  In addition, MedPro Healthcare’s CEO Liz Tonkin announced a $47,380 contribution from the Fort Lauderdale Turkey Trot at the breakfast.

“We couldn’t have been more surprised, thrilled and completely grateful when MedPro announced the Turkey Trot contribution,” said Malena Mendez, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County.  “MedPro brings to life the concept of corporate responsibility, and we’re so proud to be closely connected with them on all levels.”


Liz Tonkin and the MedPro Bigs

“All of our honorees – our School to Work Mentoring Partner of the Year and Bigs of the Year – exemplify what it means to selflessly go above and beyond to give back to the youth in our community. They truly shine a light on the lifechanging impact of mentoring,” added Mendez.

Bigs Brother of the Year Larry Scates, a detective at Coconut Creek Police Department and a resident of Coconut Creek, was the first police officer to sign up for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County’s Bigs in Blue program. Scates was matched in 2019 with Elijah, a rambunctious 10-year-old at the time. Scates served as a role model, helping Elijah learn how to make better choices, develop social skills and simply have fun. Scates and Elijah spend many hours together playing mini golf, going to events, fishing and just hanging out. Scates also went above and beyond for Elijah and his family when hard times hit during the pandemic. He was able to connect the family with multiple resources to get them back on their feet.

Big Sister of the Year Lisa Tumminello, a resident of Hollywood, has developed a strong relationship with her Little Pica, 17.  Tumminello, who was matched with Pica three years ago, has helped Pica bring up her grades from failing to As and Bs, and helped her discover a stronger sense of self and a higher level of confidence.  When the two met, Pica was shy and introverted. Now Pica is much more confident, even taking the leading role in a poetry workshop and a high school performance in front of more than 100 people. Tumminello’s unconditional love and unwavering support has helped Pica to be her true, authentic self. Tumminello makes it a priority to be an amazing, consistent and altruistic Big Sister to her Little Pica.

Big Sister Tumminello and Big Brother Scates, chosen out of 1,000 Bigs in Broward County, are now in contention for the Florida Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year.  The Florida Bigs of the Year are chosen from a pool of nominees provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the state.   One Big Sister and one Big Brother who personifies what it means to be a defender of potential will be selected by the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Florida as Florida Bigs of the Year.

High School Big Brother of the Year Logan Lamy, 14, a freshman at South Plantation High School who lives in Fort Lauderdale, has been matched with Daryl since October. Daryl, a 4th grader at Plantation Park Elementary, was facing challenges at school. Logan stepped into the Big Brother role giving Daryl his undivided attention, becoming a positive influence, helping with his schoolwork, and simply just being someone to listen. Daryl continues to benefit tremendously from Lamy’s attention and simply lights up when Lamy enters the room.

High School Big Sister of the Year Liya Johny, a 12th grader at Nova High School, has been a Big Sister to Aniya, a 5th grader at Nova Blanche Forman elementary, since last January. Liya who ranks 14th in her class and has completed more than 177 hours of community service, is a great role model to Aniya. Liya works with her Little on her academics with patience and understanding. She also stepped up to mentor Aniya’s younger sibling, Sydney, on multiple occasions while Sydney waits to be matched with her own Big Sister. Liya has also become quite the advocate for our programs by helping to recruit many other high schools Bigs through her Key Club.

About Carma Henry 21625 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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