Kid of the Month

Of course, everything Big Sunday does is made possible by the unbelievable kindness and generosity of the Big Sunday community. And, of course, that community consists of people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.

We’re often especially amazed by the many, many great kids and teens who pitch in and help us out in all kinds of ways.  That said, we’re very pleased to introduce the Big Sunday’s Kid of the Month!

This special section will call attention to a kid – of any age from tiny tots to young adults – who have helped Big Sunday and somehow gone above and beyond and inspired people young and old to see what one big-hearted person can do.

If you have someone who has helped out at any kind of Big Sunday event, anywhere, and you’d like to nominate them to be Big Sunday’s Kid of the Month, great! Please contact us at kidofthemonth@bigsunday.org. Tell us who they are, and what they’ve done. Anyone 21 and under is eligible.

This month’s Kid of the Month is:

Isabella Z.

Allow us to present to you the shining star of this month, Isabella Z. She is a friendly 12 year old, who attends Hale Charter Academy. Her mother, Stacey, was the person who initially introduced Isabella to Big Sunday. From then on they have been actively apart of numerous Big Sunday events.

Though, we are known best for our major Monthly on Melrose events, the smaller ones like MM@10 and TM@10 also have a considerable impact on the volunteers.  Isabella’s favorite Big Sunday activity was a TM@10 that she led alongside her mother, where volunteers tie-dyed old Big Sunday shirts. She appreciated the fun it was for everyone involved and the event incorporating a skill she was familiar with. Isabella and her mother have returned to host one of these projects, yearly ever since.  The thoughts that are conjured while helping others is a motivating factor for Isabella while volunteering. While volunteering you will likely encounter friendly individuals who will make an impact on you. Berenice and Rob were stand out members of Big Sunday’s staff that had a lasting impact on her, stating “they’re just nice and fun people”.

Outside of volunteering there is a lot more to Isabella’s day to day. She enjoys drawing her own comic books based on a video game called Undertale, which she also plays.  Another big portion of her hobbies that exclude volunteer work is listening to music and discovering new artist. As far as professions go, Isabella’s options span as wide ranging as her hobbies; including author, illustrator, or marine biologist. As a cherry on top for all the amazing work Isabella does, she is also a member of Big Sunday’s Youth Board and a volunteer at California Wildlife Center.

Past Honorees:

Roberto M.

Each month we search for a talented and deserving youth to spotlight to the Big Sunday community; this month we shine the light on Roberto M. He is an inquisitive 17 year old, who attends John Marshall High School. The John Marshall Key Club was Roberto’s introduction to the wonderful world of Big Sunday, and since that introduction he has been an active participant in over half of our Monthly on Melrose events. Key Club is the largest and oldest, international student-led organization which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character, and develop leadership.

Roberto reflected on which Monthly on Melrose event was a favorite of his, and settled on our Thanksgiving Stuffing event. During this event Big Sunday does a large collection, sorting and bagging of Thanksgiving related food items that are then distributed to thousands of people in need. Thanksgiving is one of our biggest volunteer essential events we host at Big Sunday; Roberto and the John Marshall Key Club have been there every step of the way. Seeing other people happy is the foremost factor in why Roberto continues to volunteer his time. He also gets a thrill out of causing a sense of fright in others as well. This was evident during Spooky Sunday when he volunteered to dress up as a character in our haunted house to scare unsuspecting guest. Volunteers return to Big Sunday for a myriad of reasons, hopefully Roberto’s experiences have given you a reason to join us.

Though there are enough volunteer opportunities to occupy a small army, there are many facets to individuals who serve others. Basketball and soccer happen to be two of the sports that keep Roberto occupied outside of school and volunteer work. As for his future of work, his love for pets coincides with his passion to become a veterinarian. As we’ve found with other KOTM honorees, the professions he chose falls under the umbrella of social service. The path Roberto is on will surely lead to a successful finish line.

Alyna and Maddie

For the first time ever, we are honoring two best friends, Alyna and Maddie. This duo of caring ladies are both 13 years of age and attend Beverly Vista School. Though both of them are closely acquainted, they each found Big Sunday in different ways. Alyna stumbled upon us on a community service reference site, while Maddie heard about us through a friend, whom we can assume was Alyna.

They both have a developing artist side to them, hence why our arts and crafts projects during events always capture their attention. Focused concentration on a craft can return overwhelming results, and their attention to detail made for some outstanding cards and gift bags. Their love for decorating and drawing has left a memorable impression on Big Sunday. What has left a memorable impression on them was meeting people their own age that they could relate to through volunteering with us. Something we found interesting when asking what motivates each of them, they both include the words “smiles”. A mixture of their quotes equates to “seeing people smile and knowing that I helped make a difference, motivates me”.

When free to entertain themselves their interests still intermingle. They both appreciate the arts through dance and reading, also Maddie has a knack for baking. As stated earlier in this spotlight of the girls, they are caring; and that is showcased in the careers they want to pursue. Alyna would like to be a Doctor, while Maddie would like to be a Marine Biologist. Whether it’s a human or animal, their goal is to heal those who are in need. When others are in need outside of Big Sunday’s scope, they are there to help; volunteering at Ace of Hearts, Sova Food Pantry, and Heal the Bay.

Dominic S.

Each month we introduce you to a stellar kid with a bright future, and this month is no different. Meet Dominic S., he is a vibrant 16 year old, who attends St. Pius X – St. Matthias high school in Downey, CA. Dominic was introduced to Big Sunday through his volleyball coach, who was the teams transportation to our event. Trekking from Downey to Big Sunday to volunteer on a Sunday afternoon shows the heart the coach and his team has to help others.

When having to pick a favorite anything, youth are usually absolute or fickle about what is the answer they can live with. Dominic had no reservations identifying what he enjoyed doing most while at Big Sunday, saying, “Sorting the food into boxes”. This goes to show that people appreciate different aspects of volunteerism; some prefer sharing and caring while others prefer organizing and sweating. Both side of the coin are very beneficial for those in need. Dominic communicated to us the patience necessary to look over each food item to ensure it hasn’t expired and if it has, setting it to the side to be discarded. What motivates him to volunteers is the ability to help those who really need help. We are thankful that he chose Big Sunday as a vessel to accomplish that goal.

When not devoting his time to community service, Dominic finds pleasure in the sport of Basketball. As a dual sport athlete, he has a lot of practices to keep him busy when out of school. While in school he wants to strive to become an entrepreneur in this world. Free thinking and able to place his business acumen to the test in whatever field he sees has an opportunity for growth. Dominic’s membership in his schools math club is another sign that he is taking the right steps to success.

Kaya J.

Allow us to introduce you to a star in the making, Kaya J. She is a brilliant 12 year old, who attends Marlborough School, an independent school for girls, grade level 7-12. She heard about Big Sunday via friends, who have attended our many events and through opportunities offered at her school. With Marlborough school being in such close proximity to Big Sunday’s office, this is surely a seasoned relationship that will stay intact for many years to come.

There are multitudes of ways to give back when volunteering; painting probably isn’t on the top of the list for many people when it comes to opportunities to help. To the contrary, Kaya found painting as her favorite portion of our Thanksgiving Stuffing event. It was a perfect pairing of something she loved to do and something that would brighten up the office of the nonprofit organization receiving it. One of the paintings still hangs in the Big Sunday office, where many visitors pass by and are delighted to view the art created by volunteers. Seeing those smiling faces can be a motivation for anyone to continue to volunteer, but she is also motivated by the thought that she is making other people’s lives better. She goes on to say, “Big Sunday is a great place to do that”. What a wonderful quote; we hope to have millions more say the same phrase.

When not volunteering or in a classroom, Kayla enjoys playing volleyball, creating art works using paint, and reading. The latter will come in handy when she pursuers her career as a surgeon. She figures that the greatest way to help others is by saving people’s lives. In the meantime, she affects change now by participating in Adopt-a-Family, serving food to the homeless at Midnight Mission and volunteering at Operation Gratitude.

Ryan S.

We are proud to present Ryan S. with this month’s Kid of the Month honor. She is a humble 15 year old that attends Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City. What initially drew her to Big Sunday was the Corwin family, who have long been involved with Big Sunday’s efforts and also has a daughter who has been honored as the Kid of the Month as well.  Her Elementary School was another channel by which she found her way into Big Sunday’s every evolving programs and events.

Each year at Big Sunday we treat our Veterans to a special day of entertainment and dinner to thank them for their service to this country; this event was highly touted as Ryan’s favorite. One reason for her fondness was it being her first event as a Big Sunday Youth Board member. Our Youth Board is filled with civic-minded kids who want to make an impact in their environment. The second reason, in her words, “I love having the opportunity to give back to those who have sacrificed so much for this country”. There are as many facets to Ryan, as there are to Big Sunday. So it should come as no surprise that she loves our concept that absolutely everyone has some way that they can help somebody else. She embodies that spirit when she gratefully volunteers in her neighborhood, which she calls, “a rewarding and humbling experience”. These experiences tend to be memorable as she recalls meeting the New Directions Veteran Choir and being inspired by their stories and talents during Big Sunday’s Vets’ Night.

When Ryan has a minute to herself she enjoys staying active by running or taking it easy by writing. She has dreams of becoming a software engineer later on in life; I guess her writing will eventually turn into code. Ryan’s impressive line of activities don’t stop their; she also is a Senator on her school’s student council and in involved with Wags and Walks, a dog rescue group dedicated to reducing the number of dogs in Los Angeles shelters by finding them loving, forever homes.

Sofia W.

This month we have a young lady that proves you are never too young to give back. Sofia W. is a delightful 13 year old, who attends Pilgrim School.  She first heard about the wonderful things we do here at Big Sunday through her school, which participated in last year’s Valentine-Making event. Their group is always full of enjoyable “tweens” and teens laughing the entire event. Sofia joins a list of Pilgrim School students who have been featured on the Kid of the Month page and is guaranteed not to be the last.

Sofia’s favorite activity she has participated in was attending Alexandria House during Big Sunday Weekend a few years ago.  Alexandria House is a transitional residence for single women and women with children in the process of moving from emergency shelter to permanent housing. Her volunteer group of fellow Pilgrim School students helped to spruce up the grounds, straighten up the house, and donated books. This was an impactful experience for her because she got to directly help people in her own community. Building communities is a major pillar of what we stand for here at Big Sunday; so hearing that from Sofia tugs at the heart strings a bit. There is significance she places on making a difference, and it’s that difference that keeps her motivated, whether it’s writing cards to Vets or having a conversation with a foster youth. We at Big Sunday love when youth are motivated to make a difference and help out in order to mold the future they want to see. That would explain why Sofia says all of her experiences at Big Sunday have been memorable. We will try to make the next event she attends even more memorable than her last.

When not looking to make a difference in someone’s life, Sofia likes to relax by reading, writing, and listening to music. All of which will prepare her for her future as a possible lawyer or a writer. There are many avenues that lead to a bright future and Sofia seems to be at the cross section of aspiring and ambitious. Whichever path she takes we are certain it will be the right one. For these reasons and many others, it’s clear to see why Sofia has what it takes to secure the title of Kid of the Month.

Matthew T.

With each passing month we bring you an extraordinary you, this month it’s Matthew T. He is a welcoming and cheerful 17 year old, who attends John Marshall High School. Word about Big Sunday spread to him via John Marshall’s Key Club, which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character, and develop leadership.

“All of them because they’re awesome” stated Matthew, when asked what was his favorite Big Sunday activity that he has participated in. Though he may love all of our events, he was an instrumental part of specific activities, such as transporting food outside to be sorted for Thanksgiving or making boxes to be packed during Books n’ Brunch. Matthew draws his motivation to volunteer from the satisfaction he receives during the process that is nary found elsewhere.  Members of our staff are always friendly, but Matthew took a liking to one in particular.  He stated “Rob is a pretty cool dude”, when speaking about the conversation he had with him over donuts.

When Matthew is not volunteering, he keeps it pretty simple; enjoying the necessities of eating and sleeping. Being well rested implies having a clear mind, which could provide insight into why he sees himself becoming a philosophy professor when he grows older.

Mila D.

Mila D. is a youth we are ecstatic to present to you as this month’s Kid of the Month. She is a resourceful 17 year old who attends Harvard-Westlake School. Harvard-Westlake is also where she first heard of Big Sunday and was provided various service opportunities.

A Big Sunday activity that she participated in which was her favorite was collecting and sorting used sporting equipment. This was an activity that spoke to her, “I’m involved in sports in school, so it is a cause very close to my own life, which makes me enjoy it so much.” This collection motivated her to get involved, but in Mila is motivated by other factors as well. She believes all people should have the same opportunities she has in life, so she is motivated to give back in order to level the playing field. She goes on to say, “By giving back I feel like I’ve made someone’s life better.” While doing thing for others, there is destined to be some memorable experiences. Mila remembers her contributions at the LAX Dunes project during Big Sunday Weekend leaving her feeling proud and accomplished. Saying, “I look back now happy that I helped to preserve the land”. No need to look further than her for someone who enjoys the service of volunteering.

When not volunteering, Mila prefers hanging with friends and watching television. When being more active, she enjoys running track and cross country at school. As she grows older she would like to delve into the film industry. As she puts it, “I’ve always wanted to purse a creative, and I love visual storytelling.” At Mila’s young age, her story is still yet to be told; we look forward to seeing tremendous things from her in the future.

Mujtahid R.

Big Sunday would like to introduce a new inductee to the Kid of the Month, Mujtahid R. He is an optimistic 18 year old who attends Pilgrim School, a public day and boarding school in Los Angeles. He originally found Big Sunday via a Google search for volunteering and later gained interest through someone who participated in Big Sunday events before.

Out of all the events we offer throughout the year, Mujtahid selected our Valentine’s Day event.  He said, “The card-making is heartwarming, and the bingo game after is a fun interactive way to end the day”. Growing up in Bangladesh, a third-world country, has given Mujtahid perspective on how fortunate he is to have an education and live in a supportive community in America. For these reasons, he is motivated to help others as much as he can.  He drives home his point by saying, “I think it’s important to give back to others, especially those that are less fortunate.” We are fortunate to have volunteers such as Mujtahid, who has a diverse background and can give a different perspective to other volunteers. While volunteering at Big Sunday, he met David McBride, a Big Sunday staff member who made their experience memorable.  Mujtahid explained, “David…was super chill, friendly, and curious as to what we were doing. We hit it off really well”.

In his personal time movies, video games and tennis is what keeps him occupied. As an occupation, Mujtahid would like to become a doctor, but also has a passion for the business side of television and film. His plan will map itself out while in college, he is looking forward to discovering everything it has to offer. Mujtahid is a member of the Bangabandhu Cultural Organization, which works to unify the Bengali community and is also ASB Co-President. It is our pleasure to honor this multifaceted teen as the Kid of the Month.

Chloe H.

With great joy, we would like to introduce this month’s Kid of the Month, Chloe H.  She is a dynamic 12 year old, who attends Curtis School. Chloe initially made contact with Big Sunday through her school, which held an event she attended and instantly loved. Curtis School partnered with Western Avenue Elementary to aid in a school beautification project during A Month of Big Sundays.

Everyone has their favorite event that Big Sunday puts on; Chloe had a connection with our Vet’s Night event. During the event she was able to meet a lot of new people and make hand written cards for soldiers. She recalls meeting another family with her family and the two of them really hitting it off during the event. That is some of the magic that happens when individuals of similar passions meet. A motivating factor for Chloe’s continued service is the inner joy afterwards that makes her smile. She helped put smiles on the faces of many others in need when she hosted a lemonade stand on behalf of Big Sunday’s Emergency Fund.  After a gesture like that, we knew we had to spotlight her as the Kid of the Month. When not participating in Big Sunday events, Chloe also volunteers for Food on Foot, who feed the homeless and help them rebuild their lives.

This caring adolescent has to make time for herself once in a while, and when she does, she prefers to spend it in the water.  For fun, Chloe loves to go swimming. It should come as no surprise that she is a member of a competitive swim team. Her aspirations as an adult revolve around the water as well saying, “When I grow up I would like to be a swim coach. I love to swim and I want to share my joy with other people”.  That endeavor to help others is a reason she was selected as this month’s Kid of the Month.

Jake L.

We are pleased to add Jake L. to the growing list of extraordinary youth that claim the title of Kid of the Month. This athletic 15 year old attends Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, CA. He first heard about Big Sunday from a family friend and later on through his temple. We love when word spreads and brings quality individuals into our organization.

When attending Big Sunday events many folks find something that really speaks to them; Jake felt as though our Vet’s Night spoke volumes. He was quoted in saying, “I deeply believe in giving back to those who serve”. Being able to serve others begins to become a theme with the way Jake feels about volunteers making things possible for others. He knows that the effort of volunteers allows humanity to succeed.

Jake is chiefly into working out and playing sports, especially baseball. Those are some of the things he focuses on in the present, when not volunteering. As for aspirations in the future, he would like to pursue a career in the Military, Law or Politics saying, “they are interesting and help improve the community”. Finally, Jake’s volunteering doesn’t start and end with Big Sunday. He splits his spare time between two other organizations, Cheviot Hill Pony Baseball Association and being President of the Hamilton Lobbyist Club.

Kui K.

Our new wonderful addition to the Kid of the Month club is Kui K. This outstanding 18 year old attends Pilgrim School and is close to taking the next big step in life, graduation. In the ramping up for graduation many students are required to dedicate a fixed number of hours to community service.  That was the catalyst for her to meet with her community service coordinator at school, who introduced her to Big Sunday.

Making Valentine’s Day cards during our Valentine’s Day event is what Kui named as her favorite Big Sunday activity.  She loved how the event brought the community together for a bigger purpose.  Saying, “It’s interactive and also personal to the people getting the cards”. Kui and many of her school mates who attended this event got to see the impact of a personal touch. She recalled attending Big Sunday’s Bingo n’ Bagels event, where she didn’t win a thing, but had a really great time playing alongside nonprofit clients and volunteers. What motivates her to continue volunteering is knowing she made a genuine difference in someone’s life. There are thousands of ways to help those in need; Kui is a believer in trying to help in as many ways as possible.

When not involved in helping others, Kui loves to go running and exploring new areas of Los Angeles. She wants to pursue a career as a lawyer when she gets older. Legislation is something she finds highly intriguing based on her passion for debating issues.  She continued, “I enjoy debate, and know that law would be the best way to make my mark in the world”. We look forward to seeing the change she effects in the future.

Daniel K.

This month we would like to shine our spotlight on Daniel K., a hard working 15 year old, who attends Windward School. His family was introduced to Big Sunday through Berenice, a long time family friend and our Senior Director here at Big Sunday.  With a connection like Berenice, he was destined to be involved with volunteering at some point.

It should come as no surprise that Daniel would later go on to play a vital role in organizing a beautification project at Grand View Elementary. He took his vision to beautify Grand View to Jennie W. at his school, who worked her magic to get the ball rolling. From there, he recruited his mother and Catherine from the Garden Foundation to help design the new gardens.  Finally, he incorporated a mural painting aspect to the beautification, led by a student from the school named Matthew. Needless to say, this was Daniel’s favorite Big Sunday event, seeing the maturation of an idea come together for an astonishing result. The expression of happiness that comes from the individuals benefited by his work is what motivates him to continue volunteering. Those expressions have left a lasting impression on Daniel, as he recalled a father working diligently on the “demo crew” and chopping up plants and tree roots; to later find out the man’s daughter attended the school.

In Daniel’s spare time he enjoys hanging out with friends, playing tennis with his family or attending a sporting event. He particularly likes hunting for cool cars in Los Angeles, which bodes well with his passion to pursue car design as a profession.  With the exotic selection of cars that roll around this city, there is much to marvel at. His dream car would be designed by himself and would use electricity over gasoline as a power source. Daniel believes in reducing our footprint on this planet to extend our existence here.  Daniel is heavily involved at Windward School as a “prefect”, which are 10 elected representatives who help to improve student-teacher relationships, interview job candidates for Windward and tries to improve student programs. In addition to this, Daniel is also on the Integrity Advisory Board, the Varsity Cross Country and the JV Tennis team. For his efforts in all of these activities and more, it is clear to see why Daniel is also on Big Sunday’s Youth Board.

Dorrit C.

Dorrit C., a person who has always been actively involved in Big Sunday for years; finally receives the spotlight she deserves. Dorrit is a bright 15 year old that attends Marlborough School.  She first heard of Big Sunday through her elementary school, The Center for Early Education.

Since Dorrit has been around Big Sunday for such an extended period of time, she has a laundry list of projects to choose from, when it comes to her favorite. She singled out taking cards and gifts to people in retirement homes on Valentine’s Day. This event was incredibly rewarding and heartwarming for her, to see their faces when receiving their Valentines.  We could all benefit from a little extra love on such a special day. Many of Dorrit’s actions are motivated by the chain reactions created when helping one person that sets activism into motion among people of all different backgrounds and brings them together. In this manner, she shares Big Sunday’s goal of bringing people from different walks of life together to share in an experience.  Through Big Sunday, Dorrit’s volunteer experiences have been memorable. She recalls a leaving Kelso Elementary school after 3 Big Sundays spent fixing it up, and how grateful the principal and students were for their efforts that day.

When not being an outstanding volunteer, Dorrit occupies her time doing one of three things; playing varsity softball, pursing her love for photography or singing in her a cappella choir. The talents of this young lady have nothing but time to flourish and evolve into greater strengths. Those strengths will all come second to her talent as a writer, for which she hopes to turn into a profession as an author, journalist, or TV writer.  Dorrit’s current membership with Girls Go Global Club, which focuses on women’s rights locally and internationally, should give her a lot of stories and experiences to pull from when she begins her career.

Juntao W.

We would like to introduce a new member into the Kid of the Month club, Juntao W. This calm 17 year old attends Pilgrim School, a private day and boarding school in Los Angeles. We would like to send a “Thank You” to the teachers of Pilgrim School, who were the sources of the Big Sunday introduction.

The Valentine’s Day event Juntao attended last was solidified as his favorite out of all others he attended. At the Valentine’s Day event he made multiple cards and shared in the joy of the day. The anonymity of the entire process is something that struck a chord with him; commenting, “It is wonderful to make those cards for people I don’t know”. Many of our projects where we write cards to groups come to them with no other identifiers, except Big Sunday. So in many ways, every volunteer including Juntao represent Big Sunday years after their service. Currently, he volunteers to get community hours for school. Juntao,along with students from his school, attended Alexandria House, where he was mesmerized by the number of books they had access to. This is a memory that he carries with him till this day.

Juntao’s efforts don’t just stop with Big Sunday; he has also been an active volunteer with Hope Net Food Distribution. When he gets a chance to relax, Juntao enjoys playing video games, like many other teens his age. Within the same lane, he would like to pursue computer programming as a career move. The mind of this creative teen may hold the key to some initiative solutions to the problems of the world today.

Chloe G.

A familiar face that has graced Big Sunday’s promotional material for upcoming events has made it to Kid of the Month status. Meet Chloe G., she is a bubbly 12 year old that attends John Burroughs Middle School. Her father, Yves, was the first person to introduce her to the wonderful work we do here at Big Sunday. Yves played an instrumental role in shining the light on the importance of volunteering.

Big Sunday is always a great place to meet new people and that’s what made our Annual Valentine-Making, Bingo-Playing Community Breakfast one of her favorite events. About the event she said, “I got to meet a lot of new people than any other events I went to”. As she has come to learn volunteering isn’t always about doing something for someone, it’s also about sharing an experience with positive individuals and connecting. Chloe has dueling interest as to why she appreciates volunteering. One, is she always has fun doing so and loves the impact it makes on the community. Another reason for investing her time is being a member of the National Junior Honor Society, which requires their members to complete 15 hours of community Service.

When she isn’t out meeting new people and volunteering her time, she enjoys curling up in bed with a good book. Maybe one day Chloe will have her very own book, since she has a passion for writing. Aside from reading, Chloe also spends time with the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood, where she is involved in Torch Club. The Torch Club puts on monthly events for all the kids in the after school program. It is clear to see this talented and warm hearted individual has a lot to offer the world.

Josie C.

I would like to introduce this month’s deserving Kid of the Month, Josie C. She is a resourceful 13 year old, who attends Immaculate Heart High School and Middle School. Her brother was the first point of contact she had with Big Sunday, when she was only in third grade. This may be the earliest a Kid of the Month has been aware of our existence.

Big Sunday’s annual Books n’ Brunch event captured Josie’s heart as one of her favorite Big Sunday events.  Books n’ Brunch is our day of collecting books from many donors and volunteers, sorting them into categories, then donating them t non profits or schools that can use them. Her simple reasoning for loving this event speaks for itself, “I think everyone needs books and literature in their lives.” Similar to this event, making an impact on someone is what motivates Josie to continue her volunteer work. She enjoys the feeling of knowing she has helped someone no matter the extent of the work that was done.

As much as she’d love to, volunteering isn’t an everyday activity; so in her spare time she enjoys reading and listening to music. Both of the aforementioned hobbies translate appropriately to skills she can utilize later on in life when she pursues a career in teaching. Josie’s caring nature is second nature; she continues her volunteer work with Adopt-A- Family and Alexandria House.  Next time you are at a Big Sunday event, make it a duty to find and congratulate Josie C. on being the Kid of the Month.

Ella C.

This month we would like to spotlight Ella C. as the Kid of the Month. Ella is an energetic 14 year old, who attends The Archer School for Girls. She was introduced to Big Sunday through a familiar source, her mother, who worked on gardening projects with Big Sunday. Her mother’s involvement spurred her involvement and later trickled down to friends of hers.  That’s a testament to the power of service that is fun and rewarding.

One of the fun and rewarding projects Ella enjoyed the most was working in the Queen Anne Elementary School garden. This event was a corporate day of service for an accounting firm, where volunteers painted murals and improved the schools gardens, among other things. She was motivated by the kid’s reactions throughout the day as they watched their school transform. Motivation comes in many forms for her; hard work and the outcome, contributing to the community, spreading happiness and helping those in need. Ella’s motivations culminated at a memorable event for her at Big Sunday’s Holiday sing along. She said, “It reminded me what the holidays are really about. Not presents, not about food or stuff, but about what’s in your heart… Big Sunday has brought such gratitude to my heart. I am so grateful to be surrounded by people with passions to help out.” This young lady clearly has a heart of gold and we are lucky to have her part of our organization.

In her down time, Ella is still leading the charge as a member and co founder of Citizen Change Theater, where she performs a specialized theater called comedia. Theater is a clear passion of hers, as it is also something she would like to pursue professionally. She has a laser focus on her goal stating, “I want to perform to those in need, to those without voices, and to those who have never experienced the stage.” With the remaining hours in the week, Ella also kick boxes, takes self defense classes and does jiu-jitsu. She is also a member of the inaugural Big Sunday Youth Board. If you couldn’t tell already, Ella C. is an extraordinary kid with a bright future.

Cristian B.

Cristian B. is this month’s Kid of Month, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise to many. This 14 year old pursued volunteering at Big Sunday without direction or encouragement from an adult; he simply wanted to help out.  He wanted to dedicate his summer to volunteering, which is a noble deed for anyone, let alone a kid.

While reflecting back on the activities he’s done with Big Sunday, Cristian listed making 4th of July cards for veterans as his favorite. He stated, “We helped show those brave soldiers our gratitude for their service”.  With that kind of mindset, any organization would be elated to have Cristian on board.  So what keeps him coming back to Big Sunday? Simply, the friendly environment and the great things we do to help those in need.  We plan on keeping it that way.

Cristian believes volunteering and giving back to your community should be second nature, saying “it isn’t something you should feel forced to do…”. He obviously has the proper approach to life cemented in him already.  We are proud to showcase Cristian to the Big Sunday community and eventually through his efforts he will be showcased to the world.

Lauren B.

We have the pleasure of introducing Lauren B. as the Kid of the Month for December.  She is a 14 year old with a heart of gold that attends Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies. Lauren’s initial contact with Big Sunday came via a project done at her school 2 years prior, where they restored the campus to its original beauty.

Lauren, along with her mother Nicole, reconnected with Big Sunday throughout the summer during our TM@10 events.  Her volunteering culminated to months of service and resulted in a familiarity with the staff and activities. One of her favorites she participated in was preparing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for My Friend’s Place, though she’s not a fan of the jelly. So what keeps Lauren motivated to return to Big Sunday? Her mother is part of the reason, also the reason for many kids, but she ultimately found all of the activities fun.

She has a firm grasp on the concept of how powerful giving back can be with this quote, “what you are doing maybe simple to you but maybe major to someone else”.  Lauren listed poverty and racism as the two problems plaguing the world we live in. Though these are major issues to be eliminated, we feel Lauren is the perfect kid to lead the way. We know Lauren will accomplish great things in her future, so Big Sunday won’t be the last to champion her.

Aidan S.

Allow us to introduce Aidan S., the new Kid of the Month. This ambitious 13 years old currently attends Huntington Middle School.  How Aidan heard about Big Sunday is a true demonstration of the power of word of mouth. His friend’s mother introduced their family to Big Sunday through Disney, one of our generous sponsors for years.

One of the activities we have found many of the kids enjoy is making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Aidan is no different. There is a certain joy that comes from preparing a snack that will go to help individuals who truly appreciate your efforts and care.  This joy is evident when asked why he continues to return to Big Sunday volunteer events, he states, “The fun about volunteering keeps me going back”. Giving back and having fun in the process is something Big Sunday will never stray from.

Aidan has an excellent perspective on volunteering for other teens like himself, “Try to find something you enjoy doing. For example, if you enjoy art, you should make cards or decorate flower pots”. What a fantastic quote from such a terrific young man. His caring nature doesn’t end there; issues facing the world Aidan would like to see changed are unemployment and poverty. Aidan is living proof that our youth are on the right track.

Brittni H.

Let’s all give a round of applause for this month’s Kid of the Month, Brittni H. Just like the unique spelling of her name, Brittni is a unique individual. Graduating with Honors from Dorsey High School in 2013, she was destined to do great things. Her first encounter with Big Sunday was around 6 years ago, participating at a KEEN (Kids Enjoying Exercise Now) event. We can thank the Big Sunday volunteers of that event for making a lasting impression on Brittni and her mother, Kathy.

Brittni listed Thanksgiving as her favorite Big Sunday event, which seems to fit a trend with her giving spirit; a spirit that doesn’t end when the event is over either. Her mother reflects on a story at the Special Olympics Long Beach, where Brittni noticed a girl crying and to remedy that she offered the young girl a pom-pom; stopping the young girls tears immediately. Brittni’s volunteering efforts extend beyond what we offer. She was a committee member for the World Games Special Olympics 2015, which included hosting 84 athletes prior to the competition.  She is also involved in the Special Olympics Southern California each June at Cal State Long Beach, where she is a VIP Ambassador.  While volunteering, Brittni always tries to make one new friend at every volunteer event she attends throughout the year. With this laundry list of volunteering work put in, it’s a wonder when she devotes some time to herself. In those segments between helping others, Brittni loves watching Scooby Doo and videos on demand, going to Universal Studios, eating pizza and ice cream, and spending time with her niece Makarah.

With this world wind of activities present, what keeps Brittni coming back to Big Sunday? Berenice, our Senior Director at Big Sunday, who has been enthusiastically rooting for Brittni since her first event. Encompassing everything we look for in a volunteer: hard working, cheerful, dedicated, and passionate about helping. It’s not hard to see why Brittni, with her beautiful smile and giving nature, is this month’s Kid of the Month.

Nicholas K.

Meet Nicholas K., he is a 17 year old senior, who currently attends Ribét Academy. Nicholas first heard about Big Sunday in 2006 based on an old shirt he owns. He became involved during Big Sunday 2011, where he was a part of a school beautification project.  We have come to know Nicholas as a well spoken gentleman with manners that any parent would be proud of.

He noted making sandwiches as his favorite volunteer activity at Big Sunday because of the structure.  Statements like that lets us know we are dealing with a mature and focused teen.   So what keeps a motivated teen like him coming back to Big Sunday events? Consistency in the schedule and the activities completed every Thursday.  We plan on keeping the consistency, so I guess that means we can plan on seeing him regularly.  Nicholas’ words are even consistent when it comes to offering advice to other kids about giving back to their community, “Don’t miss TM@10”. With this as a steady narrative of his, Nicholas may have a future as a Big Sunday spokesman.  As much as he loves Big Sunday, Nicholas is also involved in other causes such as making higher education free and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ben J.

Let’s all welcome a new kid to the club of honorees, Ben J.  Ben made his introduction to Big Sunday during our project at Home-Safe, where we planted a new garden in their play area. After the project, Ben’s eagerness to help encompassed the “Dirty Hands.Open Minds.Big Hearts” motto. Little did we know, we would be seeing a lot more of Ben.

We have to thank Ilka J., Ben’s mom, who nurtures his creativity and has made their family TM@10 regulars. During TM@10’s Ben hasn’t been shy working with new groups of volunteers and leading the way on assembling the day’s gifts. Though he may be a child of few words, there are no shortcomings when it comes to actions. Ben is a free spirit, who finds the joy in every moment; no matter the task.  His willingness to pitch in and help out has been a joy to have around the office and will pay dividends if he ever needs a recommendation.

Henry C.

Say hello to Henry! He has been a regular with us for a few years now. I think it has actually gotten to the point where he is dragging his mother to the events instead of the other way around. One thing is for certain though, whenever he is here, he gives it his all. Trust me, I know this to be true!

I have had the privilege of working alongside Henry, and have seen him in action. He follows directions extremely well, and completes every task with a willing spirit and a smile on his face. In fact, when asked why he keeps coming back to Big Sunday, Henry answered with a simple yet powerful “it’s fun.”

Henry’s attitude is what will propel him into the future with endless possibilities. I believe the saying is “The World is Your Oyster!” This applies 100% to Henry. He is a good kid with a heart to serve. Many of us adults could learn a thing or two from Henry. Hey Henry, what advice do you have for us about giving back?

“Do it! Because it will make your community better.”  – Henry

Nayeli L.

If you have ever been to a Big Sunday event you know that we love bringing all types of different people together for a common goal – to pitch in, help out, and give back! It is very easy to notice the many outspoken, community service warriors that frequent our events, but often it’s the quiet ones who make the most “noise.”

Nayeli is one of our most diligent and dedicated volunteers! We have lost count of the number of events she’s volunteered at, and her heart for services never ceases to amaze us. She loves the variety of ways we give back during our more intimate TM@10 events, and she understands what Big Sunday and service is all about. “I recommend that people give back to the community because it feels good, and there’s always someone who is in more need than you. Also, you get to meet different people from different backgrounds!” Nayeli, we love your spirit, and look forward to seeing you at many of our upcoming events. Would you mind leaving us with how you would change the world if you could?

“If I could change the world it would be to eliminate the difficulty in poor nations.”  – Nayeli

Wesley F.

There’s nothing we like more at Big Sunday than a little spunk, and Wesley has more than a little!  He was introduced to us during our 2014 Big Sunday Weekend extravaganza, and he has been a consistent, active part of our community ever since.

Wesley has the rare combination of high energy and extreme focus that makes him a powerhouse while volunteering at our many events.  Whether it’s spreading mulch to beautify our parks, or sitting at a table to create one of Big Sunday’s signature flower pots for the elderly, Wesley gives it his best.  Not to mention he told us he loves using the paper and making a mess with the glue.  Well Wesley, you have a knack for turning your mess into beautiful flower pots that surely brighten up people’s day!

Like many of the youth we highlight, and will highlight in months to come, Wesley has fun.  It doesn’t matter what the activity is, he knows the value in what we do, and what it means to truly be a community.  This was evident when he told us that “people should volunteer because it’s fun and you get to meet new people”.  That is what we are about here at Big Sunday.  We are about bringing people together to have fun helping one another, and to give them a real sense of community that they can take with them when they leave 6111 Melrose, or the countless other places we have our events.  Wesley, why don’t you tell the people the one thing you would do to change the world…

“I would have everyone helping each other.” – Wesley

Big Sunday’s Kid of the Month is made possible by a generous donation from an anonymous donor.

“To All at Big Sunday, Now, more than ever, we need the goodwill that you share and the good works that you do”

- — L.B., Los Angeles