Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida (BBBSNWFL) recognized Jenn and Lewis Bear III as the 2020 Escambia County Big of the Year. Throughout the years, the Bear family has dedicated endless time to the BBBSNWFL agency. Because of their dedication to not only the agency, but also with their Little Brother Sam, the staff of BBBSNWFL could not think of anyone more deserving of this honor.
Jenn and Lewis’ match with Sam is what is called a ‘Big Duo’, where two people mentor together and split the responsibility of being matched with a Little. Since the beginning, the Bear family has played a tremendous role in building the foundation of the local agency. Mr. and Mrs. Bear were founding members of the local Governing Board and now Lewis is finishing up his 11th year serving on the board. Last year, the Bear family made an incredibly generous gift in support of the 30th Anniversary Bold Steps Campaign and with this gift, BBBSNWFL is proud to call their new Pensacola home the Bear Family Foundation Center for Hope.
“Lewis and Jenn are passionate child advocates and are motivated to make lasting change for our community’s most vulnerable children. However, their most important role has always been Big Brother and Big Sister to Sam.” Stated Paula Shell, president and CEO. “Their dedication to Sam’s life and to bettering his future goes beyond measure. Lewis and Jenn have opened Sam’s window of opportunities by encouraging him to focus on the importance of education, work ethic, goals, independence, and kindness. They have always included Sam in every aspect of their life, including many Bear family activities. We couldn’t think of a better “Big Duo” to receive this recognition.”
Lewis was initially matched with Sam in the summer of 2011. Sam was going through a major transition and struggled greatly. Lewis became someone Sam could trust and rely on during such a challenging time. Both Lewis and Jenn have exposed Sam to so many new experiences and encouraged him to focus on the important things in life. When Sam needed extra help with school, Jenn stepped up and worked tirelessly to give Sam the academic help and stability he needed. This added another layer to the already amazing relationship Sam and Lewis built together.
“Thank you for the great honor. Our match with Sam has been a pleasure. We’ve enjoyed participating in his life and look forward to a lifelong friendship with him.” Commented Lewis. “He has become a well-behaved young man. Thank you, Big Brothers Big Sisters, for the introduction. It has truly been a fulfilling experience.”
Now more than ever the children in Northwest Florida need mentors. If you want to ignite, defend, and empower the potential of youth visit bbbsnwfl.org