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Agency Names UW Students as Bigs of the Year
April 27, 2011 — University of Wyoming students Jamie Gaab of Pierce, Colo., and Julianne Hughes of Janesville, Wis., recently were honored by Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Gaab, a junior in finance, and Hughes, a senior in family and consumer sciences, both received the Bigs of the Year for Laramie. Hughes is also the Big Sister of the Year for the state of Wyoming.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentoring agency that pairs children with adults in one-to-one friendships for a mutual benefit. Volunteers meet their "Littles" for a few hours about once a week, depending on their schedule, and spend time together doing activities.
"My Little has taught me a lot about how to be a mentor," Gaab said. "I have learned to better myself and the lives of others by volunteering with BBBS."
The students were nominated by BBBS staff and selected based on testimonials by the parents of the children as well as the children themselves. Both Hughes and Gaab received glowing reviews. In an essay by the parent of nine-year-old Sarah, Hughes was described as "a blessing in Sarah's life."
Gaab's Little, Jaedon, said in his essay that Jamie is "so kind that I worry about him sometimes" about Jamie's big heart.
Jamie and Jaedon enjoy activities such as visiting museums and ice skating, while Julianne and Sarah enjoy makeovers and swimming.
A defining moment for Hughes was when Sarah got her first cell phone, bedazzled in pink decorations, and tried her first attempts at texting her Big Sister.
"It started out as ‘I LU' and then went to ‘I LUV' and then finally one day I got a message saying ‘Hi I love you Julianne,'" she recalls. "It melted my heart."
Both matches have shared the benefit of their UW experience with their Littles. Sporting events, student activities and the resources around campus have been a great way to spend their afternoons as well as show the Littles the importance of education.
For more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters call Michael McNamee, marketing coordinator, at (307) 742-2227 or visit www.bbbs.org.
University of Wyoming student Julianne Hughes and her Little Sister, Sarah, check out the "Wyoming Family" statue on Prexy's Pasture and UW student Jamie Gaab and his Little Brother, Jaedon, check out the Skylight Lounge in the Wyoming Union. (Big Brothers Big Sisters)