SANTA CRUZ — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County has proudly awarded the 2017 Match of the Year award to Ruby and Ana Garcia-Garcia. The award celebrates a Match that has shown significant growth and impact in the life of a child in our community.
In April of 2011, Ruby was matched to a Big Sister Ana Garcia-Garcia. Ruby’s mother passed away when she was a young child. Her father Lauro enrolled Ruby in the program hoping she would benefit from having a female role model in her life.
Ana decided to become after Big Sister after learning about the program through a friend who is a kindergarten teacher. She wanted to do something that focused on children and had heard positive things about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County. In the beginning of the match Ana and Ruby did lots of kid orientated activities like the Ducky Derby and going to the pool. But now that Ruby is a teenager, the outings have evolved into things like long breakfasts where they talk about everything.
Ana teaches science at UCSC and has enlisted Ruby’s help to assist in field trips with university students. Ana states, “It is very rewarding to be able to help out in your local community. The Bigs help the Littles, but the Littles also teach us a lot of things. It’s a big adventure for both parties.”
Ruby’s father Lauro has seen numerous positive changes in Ruby during the last six years. “Ruby became very quiet, timid and withdrawn after her Mom passed away. She wouldn’t and couldn’t talk. When Ana came into her life, she was calm and patient with Ruby. She accepted Ruby just the way she was. Now that Ruby is in 10th grade she is has come out of her shell, is happy, and outgoing. I believe that has everything to do with Ana and a mentor being there for Ruby. “
Marie Cubillas, Big Brothers Big Sisters Executive Director, said: “ We are honored to have Ruby and Ana as the 2017 Match of the Year. We are thrilled to see Ruby’s growth into a young adult and the strength of her bond with Ana.”
Ruby’s father Lauro shares “I am forever grateful to this organization and more importantly Ana for being such a positive influence in my daughter’s life. Ruby’s relationship with Ana is priceless. Big Brothers Big Sisters is an extraordinary program.“
Since 1982 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County has served over 6,000 at risk youth, by matching them to screened and trained adult volunteers who provide guidance, emotional support and appropriate role modeling. Currently, there are over 60 kids on the waiting list for a caring mentor. Fore more information visit www.santacruzmentor.org or call 831-464-8691.