Big Brothers Big Sisters State Association of New Jersey named Staci Clark of Deptford and her Little Sister Dominique of Millville as Big Sister and Little Sister of the Year, and Ernest Ebanks of Mount Olive Township and his Little Brother Dreveon of Rockaway as Big Brother and Little Brother of the Year.
Ernest and Dreveon connected five years ago in Morris County, NJ. They first bonded watching and attending football games together and the more they shared, the closer they became. Ernest has inspired Dreveon to believe in himself and realize his academic potential. Now Dreveon is considering attending college and both he and his mom credit Ernest for Dreveon’s growing self-confidence and drive. Dreveon even plans to become a Big Brother himself!
“I feel so blessed to be a part of such a great organization, which afforded me the opportunity to be a good influence and role model for my little brother,” said Ernest. “I love being able to enjoy different experiences with Dreveon and helping him to grow into a mature young man.”
Staci and Dominique met in Staci’s first grade classroom. She noticed Dominque struggling and stepped up to be Dominique’s Big Sister through the Cumberland & Salem Counties BBBS program. They started out playing board games together and built a bond that lasted eight years and counting. Through the school based “Plus” program, Staci and Dominique spent hours together at the pool, the beach, and over dinner with Staci’s family. Staci’s consistent support has seen Dominique through academic and social struggles truly bolstering her self-esteem so that she can share that confidence and kindness with others.
“When I am with my Big, I feel safe and loved,” said Dominique. “I never have to think twice about whether she will give up on me because I know she will always be there. I know my Big Sister is only a text or call away when I need her. She always pushes me to try my best, and I hope after everything that she has taught me, that I will make her proud.”
William Salcedo, the Big Brothers Big Sisters State Chair shared, “We are inspired by Ernest and Staci’s dedication to the BBBS program, commitment to their matches, and the incredible impact they have had on the lives of their Littles. Ernest and Staci are true role models, the epitome of what mentors can and should be, and excellent ambassadors for Big Brothers Big Sisters.”
To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community, volunteer opportunities or make a donation to BBBSNJ, visit bbbsnj.org. To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cumberland & Salem Counties, call 856-692-0916 or visit southjerseybigs.org.