Bigs Doug Foster and Kelsey Burke are the 2022 Pennsylvania Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year
We are pleased to announce that both State awards for Big of the Year went to local mentors! Kelsey Burke (mentor) and Destiny (mentee) are the Big and Little Sisters of the Year for PA. Doug Foster (mentor) and Malachi (mentee) are the Big and Little Brothers of the Year for PA.
“We are extremely proud to acknowledge the generous spirits of both Kelsey and Doug as they have built such strong relationships with their mentees. They have shared their time, have been open and vulnerable to build trusting and impactful relationships and care deeply about BBBSPGH and their littles,” said Becky Flaherty, CEO of BBBSPGH.
Kelsey and Destiny’s Story:
Though Kelsey and Destiny now think of each other as family, they were formally matched as Big Sister and Little Sister in 2013 when Destiny was just 8 years old. What started with trips to Pirates game and crafts, has turned into an unbreakable lifelong friendship. One of the things that makes their match so remarkable is that 9 years later they continue to show up for each other through the many ups and downs of life- most recently Destiny celebrated Kelsey on her wedding day in February. Kelsey’s influence does not extend solely to her match. She has always been engaged in the mission of mentoring by fundraising, recruiting, connecting BBBS to workshops through her employer, and most recently becoming a BBBS Board Member.
In her nomination essay, Kelsey wrote, “Destiny has taught me to always have a positive outlook on everything. Our outings always put into perspective what’s important in life- human connection and support. No matter what stress I’m facing with work or life, picking her up and then going to do something from a cooking glass, to making our own terrariums, cheering on the Penguins, to laying on the ground and admiring the beauty of Van Gogh at a museum, I’m just happy to be with her.” Destiny wrote, “Something special about Kelsey is how she always pushes me to do new things. With her I tried new foods like sushi, calamari, pad Thai and have done activities that I wouldn’t think of doing like glass blowing and ice-skating. Destiny’s Mom Na’teari has been the biggest cheerleader and supporter of Kelsey and Destiny from the start. In her essay, Na’teari wrote, “Kelsey has the most beautiful heart and has been such a role model in Destiny’s life. We are so lucky to call her family. From the bottom of my heart, Kelsey, thank you and we love you.”
Doug and Malachi’s Story:
Doug and Malachi were matched in 2010 and will be celebrating their 12-year anniversary very soon. When talking about Malachi, Doug shared: "To walk alongside Malachi as a friend, mentor, and big brother has been one of the true privileges of my life." Malachi would agree with Doug’s sentiment by saying: “I am just grateful to be a part of his life and seeing that we both have grown over the years and our lives continue to develop is a blessing.”
The title BIG Brother does not supersede who Doug is, he jumped into the role so effortlessly.
He didn’t miss coming to Malachi‘s little league football games and baseball games. He attended school events, birthday parties helping them move in their home. He even including Malachi into one of the most important days of his life. His wedding day. Doug made Malachi a junior groomsman. Doug has also been a great supporter of the agency by donating pumpkins for our annual pumpkin carving activity and allowing us to host recruitment activities at his brewery, Aurochs, among other ways to support.