Big Brothers Big Sisters Happy Match Story – Angelo & Cindy

Enjoy this story from Big Brothers Big Sisters: Angelo and Cindy

Angelo, a 15 year-old in Paso Robles, was struggling to raise his grades from F’s, D’s and C’s. He was showing up tardy for class, even though he arrived at school on time. He was having behavior problems at school, related to aggression. While he dreamed of becoming a police officer or a Marine one day, his mother worried that he was not going to achieve his dreams if something didn’t change for him. Low income and language barriers made it difficult for her to find help for him.

When Angelo learned about our program, he became excited about getting a mentor. He said he would like a Big with similar interests but made a point to add that “some different interests would be good so that I could learn about those as well.” Unlike most young men his age, Angelo was happy to accept a Big Sister if no male mentors were available.

In anticipation of the upcoming “Match Meeting,” Angelo and his mother bought a beautiful, hand-made shawl in Mexico, which they presented to Cindy on the day they met. So, Angelo’s match with Cindy got off to a “warm” start. Together, they’ve been sharing that warmth with others. They share meals with Cindy’s husband. They volunteer together at church. They prepare care packages for children in need. And sometimes, they just have fun at the beach or go grab some ice cream.

It’s too soon to tell exactly what the long lasting impacts of this relationship will be for Angelo, for his family, or for Cindy. But for now, Angelo reports feeling “comfortable and safe” with his Big. Mom is “very happy with the match and thankful for the program.” And we are grateful for must! Charities, who made this match possible.

*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of both the child and volunteer.

Angelo - Cindy

Must! Charities Receives $23,515 from Heart to Heart Real Estate

Mark McConnell and Liz Lee, owners of Heart to Heart Real Estate presented a check for $23,515.00 to must! charities on Tuesday, March 15th. Scott & Viquel Hawley of Paso Robles designated must! charities as the beneficiary through their association with Heart to Heart Real Estate.

Heart to Heart Real Estate is based on the principle of utilizing funds generated by a real estate transaction to affect massive change through community partnerships. At the close of escrow, Heart to Heart will disburse 50% of the commission to fund the nonprofit or charitable organizations that are designated by their clients; making it possible for any individual who otherwise would not have the means, to contribute to a nonprofit, charity, or individual(s) in need.

Thank you to Scott and Viquel of Torrin Vineyard and of course Mark and Liz – this is a great example of community partnerships…now, we await the ripple effect!


Success Story from CASA of San Luis Obispo County

Aaron pic for STORIES0By the time Aaron* was 14 years old both his parents had passed away. Aaron was living with a relative who was rarely home and would physically abuse Aaron. Eventually, the relative was arrested and Aaron was placed in a foster home.

Aaron struggled over the loss of his parents, especially his dad. After his dad passed away, Aaron wanted some of his father’s belongings to remember him by, such as his tennis rackets, but they were repossessed and Aaron never got anything.

Aaron was assigned a CASA Advocate, George*. Aaron and George both share a love of tennis, so it was a perfect match. Aaron wanted to join the tennis team, but was struggling in school and his grades were not good enough to join the team. George arranged a meeting with some of the staff at Aaron’s school to figure out how to support Aaron academically. George helped arrange tutoring and extra help for Aaron.

Aaron worked really hard to raise his grades so he could join the tennis team. Now, his grades have improved drastically and he just made the Varsity Tennis team. In addition to making the Varsity Tennis team, Aaron has gained more self-esteem and plans to go to college.

*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of both the child and CASA volunteer

Happy Match Story from Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brother Evan and Little Brother Grant

Big Brother Evan and his Little Brother Grant are a wonderful example of how the one-to-one relationships which are formed through Big Brothers Big Sisters are equally beneficial for both Big and Little.

When Grant was enrolled he and his brother were both brought into the program. Grant was the younger of the two and seemed to be less active and more reserved. Evan and Grant were a perfect match and throughout their relationship, Evan has been able to foster Grant’s strengths helping him raise his confidence.

Grant couldn’t be happier with his Big who has encouraged him to pursue his passions such as cooking, band and soccer and saying, “You did a good job picking a Big for me.” Evan, who has incorporated his own culinary passion through involvement at the Wellness Kitchen based in  Templeton, is equally pleased with his experience saying, “It’s been easier and more rewarding than I could have imagined.” Evan has taken his experience as a Big Brother and applied it in his volunteer work at the Wellness Kitchen. He is currently working on a mentoring program there which would improve the lives of the children that are involved with the Wellness Kitchen. Evan continues to work hard to improve the lives of others and teaches this to his own Little, so he will grow up and do the same.

Evan and Grant

Food Bank of SLO Progress Spotlight

Lillian Larsen Elementary School

“The Children’s Farmers Market is off to a great start at Lillian Larsen Elementary School with the help of our After School Program Director, Shirley Hamblin. The students enjoy and benefit from making choices on how to spend their Farmer’s Market money. The weekly food feature has been a big hit with students learning about new types of foods or different ways to prepare and eat a food they know. In San Miguel, we have limited access to fresh fruit and vegetables in two small markets, so having the students take fresh produce home that they are excited about preparing and eating is good for everyone in the family. By running the Farmer’s Market through our after school program, students are not missing class time and are excited to share their bag of produce with their families when they are picked up at the end of the day.” Judy Bedell-Principal, Lillian Larsen Elementary School

The kids were asked, why do you shop at the Children’s Famers Market?

“Because they give you food. You get fake money and spend it on apples and oranges. Sometimes my dad makes soup.”
–Jaydyn Alvarado, 3rd grade

“They give the food for free and make us healthy.”
–Kevin Meza, 4th grade

girls eating produce 2015 cfm foodbank1 two boys with potaotes