A Dennis Township couple were named the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlantic and Cape May Counties Bigs of the Year.
The organization announced the honor for volunteer mentors, or Bigs, Debbie and Jim Mooers, of the Dennisville section, on Oct. 4.
“The Mooers were matched as a couple with Little Brother Andre in 2009 after learning about and becoming involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters through their daughters’ participation as Bigs in the school-based program at Middle Township Elementary #1 School,” BBBS Development Director Cynthia Overs said in a statement.
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To win Big of the Year, the Big and Little must have been matched in their mentoring relationship for more than a year, exhibit a dedication to the mentoring spirit and to the BBBS mentoring program’s success, Overs said.
The Mooers spend time with Andre fishing and crabbing at the family’s marina in Wildwood, participate in BBBS match activities, share meals and more, Overs said.
In a 2013 essay, “What My Bigs Mean to Me,” Andre wrote, “Debbie and Jim are awesome in every way I could have imagined in my mind. ... What my Bigs mean to me are — personally — my best friends who I can count on to hang out with, to speak to in times of distress or remorse, and the ones who I dearly and truly love.”
Their oldest daughter, now an adult, has become a Big again, and their youngest daughter became a Big last year.
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“It’s been our pleasure to see Andre grow in his confidence and witness the transition he’s gone through to become the kind, intelligent and personable young man that he is today,” BBBS Executive Director Sarah Roorda said in a statement. “We’ve come to think of the Mooers family as an extension of our own because they have given their hearts and time not just to Andre but to our organization, too.”
BBBS is a free program that serves 210 children in Atlantic and Cape May counties. It relies on community support because it does not receive state or federal funding, Overs said.
On Wednesday, BBBS will host its annual Big Ticket 2 Ride Car Raffle fundraiser to win one of five Mercedes-Benz models. Tickets are $100, and only 1,700 are available. If all tickets are sold out, BBBS can help 50 additional children in 2017, according to the organization.
Miss New Jersey Kaitlyn Schoeffel will pull the winning ticket at 8 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Mercedes-Benz of Atlantic City showroom, 6623 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting the BBBS office at 450 Tilton Road, Suite 214, Northfield, or by calling 609-573-5029, ext. 13.
For more information, visit bigticket2ride.com.