2023 Bigs of the Year
Congratulations to our 2023 Bigs of the Year!
BIG BROTHER OF THE YEAR:
Justin Glazebrook is described by many to be caring, thoughtful, and dedicated. When Justin started as a big brother, he was seeing his little brother Thomas, once a week at his school. They hung out during Thomas’s lunch and recess period. That was five years ago when Thomas was in second grade. Their activities were so simple back then such as playing board games, and eating lunch together but now they have progressed into a remarkable community-based match. In the beginning, activities were always about what Thomas wanted to do, then over time Justin has been able to show Thomas new games, sports, and activities.
Thomas is open and eager to learn new things with Justin. During the pandemic they found a love for building forts, playing street hockey and learned how to play disc golf together. Thomas loves creating things, playing video games, and welcomes learning in every capacity. He has adapted to this ever changing world and always pushes himself to try despite not always knowing the outcome. Middle school can be hard to navigate, and being accepted by your peers is an ongoing thought every middle school student struggles with. By having Justin by Thomas’s side it has helped him see that you don’t always have to go with the crowd and to always put yourself out there in the hopes of meeting more like-minded people. So, this year Thomas put himself out there and joined the drama club.
The summer during COVID, Thomas and his family drove across the country, this pushed Justin and Thomas to get creative in how they stayed connected with one another. They came up with a plan to talk via postcards, and virtually play Fortnite together. Thomas embraces all that Justin has to offer. Justin shows Thomas things without the pressure of “you must learn this” but by learning with him, staying consistent and always being there for him. By showing Thomas this consistency during times of unrest it has created a bond that is one of a kind. A bond that has been monumental in reminding Thomas that people do care, and no matter what, there is someone in Thomas’s corner. They have been together for five years and the impact it has made on the both of them is something to recognize. Thomas welcomes Justin into his life, and Justin welcomes Thomas into his. Through a pandemic, remote learning, and transitioning into middle school these two haven’t skipped a beat. They are two peas in a pod. Justin is expecting a child in 2023 and has found that being a big brother has given him so many tools to better help him navigate parenthood. Justin enjoys watching Thomas grow up and has learned more about himself through this program then he thought possible. Being a Big Brother has helped him visualize the type of Father that he wants to be. The full circle effect of being a Big Brother shows within this match.
BIG SISTER OF THE YEAR:
Jenna Donais is described by many as selfless, caring, encouraging, and trustworthy. Jenna truly wants the best for her Little, Jaelyn, and is committed to her for as long as she wants Jenna in her life. Jenna has helped Jaelyn see new perspectives and shows Jaelyn that you can have fun no matter what you do. She tries to welcome every learning moment between them and openly talks with Jaelyn about making good choices. She wants every child to have a Big and collaborates with others in the community to promote that!
Jaelyn is spunky, wise beyond her years, and creative. She is in 5th grade and embraces learning from school and Jenna. Jaelyn is curious about everything, she is learning to make goals, and tries to be a friend to all because she knows how it feels when someone treats you badly.
Jenna and Jaelyn met at a site-based program at Jaelyn’s school. Now, they have rolled over into the community-based program and are enjoying activities in the community. They both embrace change and new experiences while remembering the activities they initially did together that bonded them. Jenna and Jaelyn immediately hit it off & Jaelyn started calling Jenna her Big Sister from day one. She truly sees Jenna as her natural Big Sister. Jenna and Jaelyn are always looking to learn new things, and explore the area as much as they can. This match is special because they have progressed tremendously since they first met and have a built great bond. They went from quick after-school visits once a week, to pausing because of Covid – and having to get creative with socially distant visits. Now, with them being a community-based match, Jenna and Jaelyn have deepened their connection together by hanging out consistently and enjoying activities like nature walks and baking. Jenna will also help Jaelyn with homework when she needs it, they like getting their nails done together, and have many annual traditions such as the Dover PD Christmas party, and gift-giving. Jenna tries to understand Jaelyn’s perspective, and in return, Jaelyn welcomes Jenna’s advice.
Jenna has recruited many Dover Police Officers to become Bigs through BBBSNH’s Bigs in Badges Program. She is constantly plugging this program within the police department. Jenna coordinates a Christmas party every year for all the Littles of BBBSNH and invites BBBSNH to local events to advocate on behalf of the program and recruit others to join.
Jenna has helped Jaelyn by boosting her confidence as much as she can. Navigating middle school is not easy and Jaelyn has had to handle some bullying at school and on the cheerleading team. Jenna has helped Jaelyn to understand that not everyone is going to like everything about themselves and that sometimes others are dealing with things that we might not know of. Jaelyn has started to learn about other people’s perspectives and how that impacts their actions. Jaelyn is strong-willed, curious, and impulsive. Jenna has helped Jaelyn get more zoned in on future goals, what she’s learning in school, and how having those forward thinking plans can help her in the future. She has also shown Jaelyn how great getting outdoors and being in nature can be. She tends to be on her phone a lot when she is not with Jenna and since being with Jenna has gained a new appreciation for going on nature walks and looking at different plants, trees, and wildlife.
Jenna has kept the match successful through the pandemic, even with all of the full-time duties of being a local officer in her community. She takes time to have fun with Jaelyn every other week and is mindful of each visit and activity that she plans for them. She always wants there to be a learning moment when possible. The two have grown into true “sisters”.
COUPLES MATCH OF THE YEAR:
Amanda Seavey and Dan Ricci
This summer will mark the 10-year match anniversary for Amanda and Dan who have been matched with Conner. The couples match was made in July 2014 and the trio has been making memories together ever since! The three have been through many changes in their lives throughout the years yet their bond remains consistent. This match has some special traditions they have kept such as peach and apple picking and a corn maze in the fall. They enjoy going out to eat and watching movies, ice skating, paddle boarding, and they have future plans to “nerd out” on a PlayStation 5.
When Conner’s grandmother first enrolled him, she thought he would benefit from a mentoring relationship and time spent away from home. His grandma wanted him to be matched with mentors who could keep up with him. Amanda and Dan are so dedicated, they have been attending Conner’s chorus concerts since he was in second grade! When it came time for Conner to start the job search process Amanda and Dan drove to each place so that he could put in job applications to various locations.
This, not so Little, Little Brother is now in high school and has a job in the service industry, and is now starting to think about drivers-ed. This couple is up for the challenge of taking their Little Brother out to practice driving. During their time matched, Amanda and Dan welcomed two children. Their children occasionally join them on outings and adore our not so “Little Brother” saying that he is “the coolest.” Amanda said her son loves to talk to him long after a visit with him has ended. Amanda has been dedicated to BBBSNH in other ways aside from being a Big as she has served on our YP4M board and has made referrals for other kids she feels would benefit from being Littles in our program. When their match support specialist checks in with Little Brother’s grandma she has always shared that his Bigs are a big part of this Little Brother’s life.