A panel of judges selected Sarasota residents Linda Cullen and Paul Davidson as 2012-2013 Big Brother & Big Sister of the Year.
Davidson has been a mentor to Antrone Thomas for more than four years and Linda Cullen has mentored Brittany Probus for 12 years.
With no children of his own and little experience Davidson was nervous as he began to mentor Thomas. Soon the two became inseparable. Davidson served as a role model to Thomas whose father had been in and out of his life. In the four and a half years together Thomas has grown up to be a responsible young man.
“Too few people realize, and I was one of them, that they are able to mentor a child,” Davidson says. “We need Big Brothers Big Sisters to choose the path of being able and willing to mentor a child. You get back much more than you put in. You can only imagine what it means to the child.”
Linda Cullen was matched with her little Brittany Probus, 12 years ago. She had gone through a divorce, had no children of her own, and lost her parents. Probus’s father, Rob, had a Big himself when he was a child and decided to enroll his daughters in the program at the time.
“I am lucky to have experienced this small, shy young girl’s growth intp a beautiful young lady,” Cullen says. “Hopefully the many roads we have traveled, the many detours we have taken will give her the guidance next year when she graduates high school and chooses her next journey in life at college. I truly believe everyone, if they want to dedicate a small part of their life and time, can make a world of difference in a child’s life.”