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“I first met Jasmine Williams in the fall of 2012.  I was excited to have her as a Big because she had extensive experience with children- she had been a camp counselor at the Y, a lifeguard, and her family had a daycare.  Her references said wonderful things about her willingness to take on extra assignments and how the kids all loved her.  Most importantly to me, she checked the box “Willing to work with a child of the opposite sex”.  I had, and continue to have, a huge number of boys and very few males to match them with.  I remember feeling very comfortable with her willingness to be matched with a boy- she wasn’t just saying it, she really meant it.

Jasmine was matched with Yave in October 2012.  Yave was referred to our program because of a trauma that occurred when he was in Kindergarten.  He was involved in an accident that killed his mom and injured him and his two sisters.  Yave’s dad was a little overwhelmed with his new single parent duties and needed some help.  Jasmine was just what he needed.  She loved him, encouraged him, and held him to a higher academic standard than he wanted to hold for himself.  Jasmine would frequently check with his teacher- monitoring his homework and any other assignments.  When he made the A/B honor roll, he celebrated with Jasmine.  When Yave struggled with wanting to follow others rather than doing what he knew was right, Jasmine was there to help.  She has worked on more science projects than most parents.  However, she never did them for him- she coached him through the work so he could be proud of the finished product, knowing he had done it himself.

Through all of this, Jasmine consistently visited Yave weekly.  However, let me reveal something about Jasmine- she is driven.  She is a communications major with a 3.8 GPA and is in the top 10% at HPU.  She has been an instrumental part of the HPU Big Brothers Big Sisters Club for most of her college years.  The club is responsible for providing activities for our children on the campus of HPU and fundraising to pay for these events.  Yave was always so proud of her at these events.  I would hear him telling the other boys that he was going to HPU again because of Jasmine.  I believe he truly felt these events were designed just for him.  Jasmine was also the top fund raiser for our college Bowl –for- Kids- Sake.  As if that isn’t enough, Jasmine also holds two jobs on campus.

What the average person may not know about Jasmine is that she experienced the loss of her brother and a grandparent during her years at HPU.  These were devastating losses for her and could have easily derailed her involvement at Big Brothers Big Sisters to allow time for her to deal with her grief.  Jasmine never missed a beat.  She has also been involved in numerous other projects at HPU, always championing those who are in need.  Jasmine will certainly be a success in life when she graduates this year.  However, I believe her greatest success won’t be found in her academics, but the hearts of those she has touched.”

Match Support Specialist- Laura Carlson