Meet Jessi & Hunter: Match of the Year Honorees

Each year Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Indiana honors our “Matches of the Year”. We had 10 matches of the year in 2021, and each of these matches was interviewed for a series of short videos.  

We weren’t able to fit everything into the Match of the Year videos, so here’s a deeper look into one of 2021’s strongest matches!  

Big Sister Jessi and Little Hunter have been matched since May of 2016, and supported all along the way by Hunter’s mom, Jessica. 

Jessi is dedicated to empowering the next generation. She is a Middle School teacher and has spent the last 6 years being Hunter’s mentor and friend. Jessi believes that it’s important to have a positive impact on kids because they are “the future of the world”. That’s why she chose to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters. 

Since that initial decision to get involved, Jessi and Hunter have accumulated more than half of a decade’s worth of great memories. They both shared that some of their favorite memories are of their trips to King’s Island. They love the freedom to “run around like 8-year-olds” and “eat as much junk food as they want… within reason.” 

Growth is a major through-line in Hunter’s story. He shared that before being matched with Jessi, he struggled with getting sucked into drama and problems at school. With Jessi’s support, Hunter learned “to take the high road”. Now when Hunter runs into problems at school, he seeks advice from the people he trusts. He solves problems before they get too big. Hunter’s mom, Jessica, is grateful for the support. “It’s awesome to know that Hunter has a team”, she said. 

At home, Hunter noted that he “argues less with his mom”. Jessica shared that communication has been way easier between them. In her words, “Hunter doesn’t stay closed up. I know that I’m getting through.”  

The impact has not been one sided, Jessi has learned a lot from Hunter too. Hunter taught her, “how to live and be her authentic self” and “how to not take life too seriously.” 

Jessica opened our conversation by saying, “as a single parent I want the best for Hunter. I want to be able to communicate openly with him and understand him. I want to make sure that he has everything he needs. That is more possible with Jessi’s help. Hunter was able to tell me that he wants to go by Hunter and that he wants to use he/him pronouns. I hope he would have felt comfortable to share that with me eventually, but I know that Jessi empowered him to feel comfortable sharing that sooner.” 

Jessica went on to share that over the last few years, “There has been tons of growth in maturity, in believing Hunter can be whoever he wishes to be, and growth in communication as well.”  

There are over 1,000 kids like Hunter on our waitlist. They’re waiting for a mentor, for someone to stand in their corner. Learn more about how you could make an impact like Jessi as a Big.  

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