Thursday, October 2, 2014

Match Spotlight: Latifat & Ja’Mes

Big Brothers Big Sisters is proud to announce this month’s Match Spotlight, Latifat and Ja’Mes.  The two were matched in July of 2009.  Latifat volunteers as a mentor and role model to Ja’Mes, and the two represent the impact long-term, one-on-one mentoring can have.

In the last two years, making time to see each other has always been the priority for Latifat and Ja’Mes.  The consistency of their activities is one of the key factors that have helped to make their friendship so successful and lasting. Latifat and Ja’Mes love to go out and have a good time together. They dance together, go to the library, shopping, park, out to eat, work on arts and crafts, play games and LS attended BS’s graduation they spend the day with Latifat’s family. “I absolutely love the fact that I’m able to see her grow and mature, from encounter to encounter and from year to year. The progress she has made is astounding. We actually ran into one of her kindergarten school teachers at an event and she commented on how much she had changed and that the program was a really good thing for her”, commented Latifat.

Kipp Hayes- Community Leader

Kipp Hayes, the CEO and owner of University Pawn and Jewelry, is an outstanding and motivational community leader. He demonstrates commitment to helping children better themselves by volunteering as a community mentor through his church’s youth ministry and as a bible study teacher. Mr. Hayes is currently the Vice President of the Board of Directors of BBBS. Kipp’s relationship with BBBS began as a Little Brother, (LB) in our program, where he was matched with his Big Brother (BB), Mark. Kipp believes that he began to grow as a person because of the time and attention Mark showed him, helping him discover who he was and what he really enjoyed.

Kipp’s most significant memory from being a LB was his bonding experience with his BB Mark at their first meeting together. After Mark introduced him to Orange Julius in the Gainesville Mall, he was his new best friend! Kipp was soon introduced to Star Wars, which they saw three weeks in a row, and video games, which they played for hours. These activities opened up a path that allowed Kipp to start building models and led him to his first job at the age of 14 at a local arcade. Kipp said, “I don’t recall how long the relationship lasted, but its effect has lasted me a lifetime.” After Mark moved out of Gainesville, Kipp left the program, at which time he fell in with the wrong crowd, and dropped out of school. He realizes that everyone needs help and guidance and maybe if he had had his Big around he would not have dropped out of school in 9th grade. This in part is the driving force that motivates him to give back to the children in his community.

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