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Showalter named "Big of the Year'
Jerry Showalter and Spencer on the tracks.
7/14/2012 2:26:00 PM
Kathleen Murphy, president & CEO of Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters is proud to announce the 2012 Big of the Year, Jerry Showalter.
Jerry has been matched with 14-year-old Spencer for the past three years. During their match, they have developed a strong bond through shared activities like hiking, camping, playing golf, boating, fishing and of course checking out the occasional movie.
According to Kathleen, "Jerry Showalter has shown an extraordinary commitment as a Big Brother. During their match Spencer has moved and lived in 8 different places. Through it all, Jerry never missed an outing and made sure that Spencer could find a sanctuary away from the chaos of his everyday life. Jerry made sure Spencer got to school, he attended his school functions, helped him with homework and provided untold opportunities to provide Spencer with a better future. "
Spencer lives with his grandmother Hope Marquez who says, "I am well into my 70s and it is difficult to care and provide for Spencer. When Jerry came into Spencer's life it was like a miracle. Spencer needed a man in his life to show him responsibility and that he could succeed if he tried." She explained that Jerry had introduced Spencer to so many adventures that he would not have experienced otherwise and that Jerry keeps him focused on school and staying out of trouble. "I'm very grateful that Jerry came into Spencer's life and we're both better for it," she said.
When asked about one of his best memories of being matched with Spencer, Jerry tells about a trip they took together in 2010.
"Spencer asked if I would go with him on his sixth grade class field trip down the Grand Canyon and to Zion National Park as a chaperone. I didn't have to be asked twice. We spent nine days camping out and hiking some of the most beautiful areas the world has to offer. We hiked nine (9) miles down to Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and the Indian Village of Havasupai in the Grand Canyon. There were 23 sixth graders and ten adults. I was concerned about the kids being able to handle such a strenuous and long hike. The kids all did just fine, but after four days in the canyon three of the adult chaperones had sore knees."
Each year, YBBBS' Match Advisers review their current mentoring matches and submit those that they feel are deserving of the Big of the Year Award. The recipients are selected from over 800 active matches in Yavapai County. The volunteer's commitment to mentoring their Little and their additional involvement with YBBBS are all taken into consideration. In addition to being an outstanding Big Brother, Jerry currently serves as the Chair of YBBBS' Verde Valley Community Board, where he has been actively involved in both recruiting more volunteers to become mentors as well as raising funds to support YBBBS Matches.
Thanks to volunteers like Jerry Showalter, Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters works. Boys and girls matched with a Big are 40-percent less likely than all other kids their age to get arrested. Compared to their peers, these same youth are 46-percent less likely to start using drugs, 27-percent less likely to start drinking and 52-percent less likely to skip a day of school.
Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters is a donor and volunteer supported organization proven to help the most at-risk children in our communities succeed through one-to-one mentoring relationships. Founded in 1971, Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters works in 20 communities and 65 schools throughout Yavapai County and Sedona. Since its founding over 40 years ago, the agency has changed the lives of over 10,000 boys and girls.
For additional information or to get involved with YBBBS, call 928-778-5135 or online www.azbigs.org.
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