Photos courtesy of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSAZ) has named its 2024 Bigs of the Year. Out of the more than 1,000 volunteers who serve as mentors to youth in Maricopa County, BBBSAZ has selected Geoffrey Nail and Ivy Davis as outstanding examples of volunteerism and the power of mentoring.

Research has shown that children who have mentors are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities, volunteer in their community, and graduate from high school; and less likely to engage in risky behavior like underage drug and alcohol use.

Big Brother Geoffrey Nail and Little Brother Raazi
Not only has he been a fantastic Big Brother to his Little, but Geoffrey Nail has been involved and given back to the agency in many different ways over the years, including by serving as a Big Brothers Big Sisters board member and previous president of the Young Professionals Council.

Nail’s Little Brother Raazi was in the fourth grade when they were matched. Raazi’s mother believed he would benefit from having a younger positive male role model in his life, as his grandfather was the only male influence for him at that time. Nail has been a consistent, committed role model to Raazi since that time. Through the years he has been with Raazi for every major milestone. Raazi graduated from high school in December and is currently working. He was accepted to NAU in the fall with a partial scholarship but is also looking at other options such as trade schools before making his final decision. With the continued support and friendship with Nail, Razzi is ready to embark on the next chapter of his life. He witnessed how bright his future could be with Nail as his role model.

Big Sister Ivy Davis and Little Sister Rhianna
Davis and Rhianna were matched during the pandemic in 2021, when Rhianna was just 14. Often, Bigs enter the lives of Littles at a time when they need it most, and this is true for this match. While they built a relationship over shared meals and trampoline park outings, Rhianna was struggling with anxiety and depression. While she was able to receive treatment she was still challenged with significant instability in her life. Davis maintained regular visits and outings with Rhianna during this turbulent time, serving as a consistent, reliable support she could count on. Because of the special bond Ivy and Rhianna formed early on, they have been able to effectively navigate these challenges together.

Now 17, Rhianna has shared that she can tell that Davis cares for her and she is grateful. She says Davis is the role model for who she aspires to be. Davis has been, and continues to be, a light for Rhianna during her journey, walking with her as she finds her way. Through consistency and genuine care, Ivy is able to support Rhianna in reaching her full potential.

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