Home Stories Little Gio & Big Jesse: Match of the Year 2024

Little Gio & Big Jesse: Match of the Year 2024

Little Brother Gio & Big Brother Jesse have been matched since February 2020 and will be graduating from the BBBSCI program this May 2024!

Little Brother Gio was 14 years old when he first joined the BBBS program and hoped to have a Big to have more opportunities outside of his own home. Gio’s guardian, Sharon, expressed that Gio tends to keep to himself and hopes that a Big could help him experience more activities, gain confidence, and develop strong social skills with others.

Big Brother Jesse has known about BBBS for most of his life since his mother worked for a BBBS agency when he was growing up. Jesse had also been BBBS of Central Indiana’s lead contact at Eli Lilly & Co. for many years – helping start the partnership between Lilly and BBBSCI during their annual Global Day of Service! For his work to develop that partnership, Jesse was recognized as the agency’s Kathi Kornas Volunteer of the Year in 2016, which is awarded to an individual who has volunteered for BBBSCI in a non-Big setting. After Jesse’s own children graduated from high school, Jesse was determined to become a Big himself!

Gio and Jesse were matched in February 2020 based on similar interests in technology, hiking, video games, and music. Gio was hoping to go to college and major in the STEM field, and with Jesse’s experience working at Lilly, he would be a great support and resource for Gio as he began to prepare for his future. During their match introduction (the first meeting for all parties), Gio and Jesse determined that they will work on Gio’s social skills in public settings, confidence, and love of learning. To begin building trust and friendship in their mentoring relationship, the two would visit parks in Indianapolis and go fishing together!

During their mentoring relationship together, Gio and Jesse bonded over their love of the outdoors. Visiting various state and local parks, hiking, and catching up was part of their tradition together. Over the years, they’ve visited Geist Reservoir, Eagle Creek Park, Holliday Park, Marrott Park, and so many more! Even though they were matched right before the pandemic began, Gio and Jesse tried to connect as much as possible virtually and eventually outdoors.

Jesse continued to focus on academics and Gio’s future after high school – making sure that Gio met all his 21st Century Scholars requirements, visiting colleges, and working on schoolwork together. Very recently, Gio and Jesse attended the Big Futures: Career Exploration Day and Ivy Tech Visit to learn about different professions and what the Ivy Tech Community College campus has to offer. Now, as Gio is about to graduate from high school, he plans to attend college and major in Cybersecurity.

Congratulations to Gio and Jesse for the strong relationship and friendship they have built through the past four years!

Watch the video above to hear more from Gio and Jesse.