Our mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.
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Olivia's father left when she was seven, and she now lives in San Francisco with her mom, older brother, grandma, and two younger siblings. Surrounded by violence and drugs - she's had a gun pulled on her three times - Olivia really needed a caring adult role model and friend in her life. Big Sister Dawn has been that friend for over seven years.
Recently, Dawn and Olivia were honored with the "Inspiration Award" at the 2009 BBBSBA Big Event Fundraiser. In her acceptance speech, Dawn said she has learned "what resiliency means. Olivia is resilient. She's been through a lot in the time that I've known her and through it all, she's made it. She's a fantastic, positive, smart, conscientious young woman."
Olivia's speech was just as emotional and heartfelt: "Growing up for me has always been hard … Dawn has been the person that I could tell just about anything to. Having a big brother or big sister just to spend time with can affect a kid in more ways than you think...Because of the support I have gotten over the years I am now in the top three at my high school and just last week I got the great news I passed my high school exit exam! I now know that anything I want to do in my future, I can do."
A George Lucas Foundation representative who happened to be at the BIG Event was moved by Olivia's story, and asked to interview her for Edutopia! It was a fantastic opportunity. You can see the results here: http://www.edutopia.org/digital-generation-interview-olivia.