Local Mentor Named Florida’s 2024 Big Brother of the Year

Posted on February 13, 2024 by Staff reports

Pictured are Paula Shell, CEO of BBBS NWFL, Little Brother Zorrian and Big Brother Larry Gillespie. BBBS photo.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida proudly announces Larry Gillespie as the recipient of the 2024 Big Brother of the Year for the State of Florida.

Gillespie has been a volunteer mentor for his Little Brother, Zorrian, for more than 8 years.

BBBS NWFL released the following statement:

“Larry has been a transformative force in Zorrian’s life, helping him come out of his shell and instilling confidence through a variety of shared experiences. Their bond has strengthened through quality time spent watching superhero movies, exploring new dishes, and cheering on their favorite teams at baseball and hockey games. Larry also supports Zorrian’s academic pursuits, encouraging him to excel in his schoolwork. Zorrian expressed his gratitude, stating, “When I look at Larry, I see someone that has motivated me to do better, to be creative, to be an outside thinker, to work hard, and to just be a good person.”

Zorrian’s mother also expressed her heartfelt appreciation, saying, “If I could tell Larry anything, I would tell him thank you. Thank you for signing up for the program, for sacrificing your time to do this, for spending the time needed with my son, and for helping him grow.”

Larry’s commitment to Big Brothers Big Sisters extends beyond traditional mentorship, actively engaging in events, volunteering, and introducing unique initiatives such as ‘Trade Day’, providing valuable insights into possible career paths for our Littles.

This recognition also emphasizes the importance of community partnerships. Marathon Electrical Contractors, a key supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, played a pivotal role in making this mentorship possible by investing in our programs and enabling Larry to generously share time with his Little Brother.