Director of Business Development & Marketing at PRANDI Property Management, Erin Leidy, has recently been named the California Big Sister of the Year for Big Brothers Big Sisters. This honor is in recognition of her tireless support of the agency, and more importantly, of her “Little”, 11-year old Trayvon. Each year agencies across the state, nominate 1 Big Brother and 1 Big Sister for their exemplary mentoring and advocacy. There are 19 agencies in all, representing over 13,000 matches. The individuals nominated are judged at the state-level by a panel of agency Executive Directors. Winners from each state are then eligible to be named National Big Brother or Big Sister of the Year. Erin has been working with the organization for roughly five years spawned by her husband, Jonathan’s, involvement on the Board of Directors. She and Trayvon are far from the average pair. Although not the first “mixed-match”, traditionally, the organization has focused on pairing Bigs and Littles of the same sex. However, with over 200 children on the North Bay waiting list, mostly boys, the organization has been compelled to become more creative. “When we have fantastic mentors, like Erin, willing to donate their time and talents, we want to get them involved with a child as soon as possible,” says Executive Director of the North Bay agency, Eddie Kaufman. “Pairing her with Trayvon was natural, given that she is the elder sister of 3 brothers. And the results speak for themselves.”
In the relatively short time that Erin and Trayvon have been together, they have done quite a bit. They have gone hiking, to Warriors games and amusement parks, visited museums, baked holiday cookies, and much more. “Over the course of our match, there have been many firsts for Tray,” says Leidy. “He has learned how to play tennis, make scrambled eggs, and even some less complicated things, like the importance of looking someone in the eye when you speak with them. Most recently, we took him up to the top of Tam, where he was able to experience snow for the first time.” Of all of the things that she has brought to Tray’s life, the most valuable is stability. He has officially become a part of the Leidy family, never missing a holiday. “When we go out together, I notice others watching us, trying to bring context to a relationship that, on the surface, seems a bit peculiar. That’s fine with Tray and I; in fact, it often leads to a great opportunity for the both of us to share our story.” Erin will be talking about her match a great deal over the course of 2011, including at both of the Inspiration events held by the organization as well as the upcoming Bowl for Kids Sake at Country Club Bowl in San Rafael (April 2-3). “Winning is a great honor and I would like to share this recognition with the staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay as well as all of my family and friends that have supported the organization along with me.”The judging for the National Big Sister of the Year also takes place in April. If selected, Erin and Tray would be taking a trip to the White House, where past winners have had the opportunity to shake hands with the President.