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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire announces 2022 Orange County Big of the Year finalists

In celebration of National Mentoring Month and the continued support of its volunteers, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire is honoring outstanding mentors who are unparalleled in their service in the local community this past year. The local presence of the national nonprofit, which matches youth facing adversity (Littles) one-to-one with a supportive mentor (Bigs), is revealing its 2022 Big of the Year finalists in Orange County:

  • Big Brother of the Year finalists
    • Braulio Moreno of El Monte
    • Connor Halsted of Fountain Valley
    • Michael Justiniano of Mission Viejo
    • Steve Guzman of Riverside
    • Zachary Stangle of Dana Point
  • Big Sister of the Year finalists
    • Amy Ellis of Laguna Niguel
    • Jennifer Detlefsen of Buena Park
    • Mayra Sanchez of Anaheim
    • Monica Da Re of Upland
    • Samantha Leonard of Long Beach

In an especially challenging year, the 2022 finalists have adapted and helped their mentees in incredible ways, which is showcased in the children’s academic, behavioral and social-emotional growth. These finalists welcomed youth into their workplaces for job shadowing, paid for groceries when finances were tight, walked through emotionally challenging situations, celebrated birthdays on Zoom and so much more. Each of these finalists embodies the organization’s mission of igniting the potential in today’s youth, and serve as incredible advocates for Big Brothers Big Sisters at work, in their social networks and within the community.

“Our volunteers continually raise the bar when it comes to their mentees, and this past year is a testament to their dedication to shaping brighter futures for our youth,” said Sloane Keane, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire. “Mentors like these 10 individuals help empower youth and ignite their inherent potential so they can navigate difficult situations and thrive. This National Mentoring Month, we are so proud to honor our finalists and thank our thousands of volunteers who go above and beyond in their commitment to creating positive change.”

Orange County Big of the Year winners will be announced at an in-person ceremony on Jan. 20 at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach. Community members excited about changing the world by empowering local youth as a mentor are encouraged to visit www.ocbigs.org/mentoringmonth.

To learn more about the organization, visit: www.ocbigs.org or www.iebigs.org.