2022 Big Brother & Big Sister of the Year finalists announced

INLAND EMPIRE, Calif. — In celebration of National Mentoring Month and the continued support of its volunteers, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire has announced this year’s six finalists, including three men and three women, for Big Brother/Big Sister (BBBS) volunteers of the year. The annual award honors outstanding mentors who were unparalleled in their service to their communities over the last year.

The Inland Empire’s “Big of the Year” winners will be announced at the end of January, with a closed ceremony celebrating the winners in March.

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In an especially challenging year due to Covid concerns and other issues, the 2022 BBBS Big of the Year finalists adapted and helped their mentees in incredible ways, according to Jennifer O’Farrell, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire, who says the finalist’s outstanding efforts are showcased in their Little’s academic, behavioral and social-emotional growth.

With this year’s finalists coming from Riverside, Wildomar, Covina, Menifee and Highland, O’Farrell said, “Our mentors come from all backgrounds and walks of life, but they share a common belief in the power of mentorship and over the last year have channeled that belief into cultivating meaningful and lasting connections with their mentees in a time when so many of us feel isolated.”

“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,” O’Farrell explained; adding, “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.”

This year’s nominees for Big of the Year include:

  • Big Brother of the Year finalists
    • Alex Rajewski of Riverside
    • Edward Frank of Riverside
    • Matthew Nguyen of Wildomar
  • Big Sister of the Year finalists 
    • Daphne Burnett of Highland
    • Denisse Lopez of Menifee
    • Sharyn Jung of Covina

“These six individuals have made a difference in one child’s life that will create generational change in our region,” O’Farrell went on to say; adding, “We are so grateful for the contributions of these finalists and all our volunteers that allow us to celebrate and enhance the power and promise of today’s youth.” 

Click here to learn more about each of this year’s finalists and their outstanding efforts.

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About Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire creates and supports one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Their mentoring model was created on the premise of youth equity and empowerment, designed to meet kids where they are and empower them with the skills to transform their lives and their communities.

Since 2014, BBBS has provided youth in Riverside and San Bernardino counties facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported mentoring connections that provide a direct and measurable impact on their lives.

With a mentor, youth are able to build emotional intelligence and social capital necessary to achieve educational milestones, set postsecondary plans, and achieve a living wage job. Through mentoring, their aim is to reduce the number of disconnected youth throughout the region and build a self-sufficient workforce with the potential to change the world. 

Community members excited about changing the world by empowering local youth as a mentor are encouraged to visit www.iebigs.org/mentoringmonth. To learn more about the organization, visit www.iebigs.org or www.ocbigs.org



Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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