Regional Director


Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast- Lee and Collier Counties Launch Empowering Potential Match Campaign to Help Children in Community

Fort Myers, FL (May 13, 2020) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast (BBBSSUN)– Lee and Collier Counties are launching an eight-week giving challenge, matching each incoming gift dollar for dollar through generous match funds. An anonymous donor contributed a $20,000 matching fund to BBBSSUN Collier County, while all sponsors of the canceled Chefs Cooking for Kids – Enchanted Garden fundraiser for BBBSSUN Lee County redirected their sponsorships to create a $65,000 matching fund. These funds will serve to match every dollar donated up to the amount of the funds, doubling the impact of those who give. Those interested may visit

“When we were asked to contribute our sponsorship to a match fund we agreed without hesitation,” said Cole Spedale, group rental manager of Enterprise Rent-A-Car and a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast corporate board. “The mission to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships is vital during these times of uncertainty,” said Spedale.

“The children we serve typically live in low-income households with a single parent or guardian, and are experiencing anxiety and confusion due to the isolation caused by the pandemic,” said Barbara Wagner, lead mentor manager for BBBSSUN Lee County. “We recently received an inquiry from a grandmother who is seriously ill and is raising her three grandchildren between the ages of seven and eleven on her own. We were able to a donated computer to them and set up video conference interviews. The excitement and joy expressed by the three children was clear confirmation of why we do what we do,” said Wagner.

“The power of the work do is evidenced by the outcomes,” said, Maria Otero, mentor manager for BBBSSUN Collier County. “We matched an eleven year-old boy who had been self-harming with a Big Brother who has helped him tremendously. In conjunction with support of a licensed counselor, the boy has stopped hurting himself and truly has a new outlook on life.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast acted quickly when COVID-19 hit, moving all face-to-face interactions online – from recruiting and screening to enrolling and facilitating strong, healthy matches. The agency has ensured Bigs and Littles receive ongoing support. At the same time they have connected new mentors and children through virtual interviews and match meetings, officially welcoming them as Bigs and Littles in the interim of meeting face-to-face

The Empowering Potential Match-Challenge Campaign in Lee County is supported by: Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Seminole Casino Hotel, Molloy Financial Group, Sam Galloway Ford Lincoln, TECO Peoples Gas, Red Sox, Creighton Construction & Development, Kitson & Partners, Henderson Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., Ben & Martha Simmons, Broadway Association Management, LLC, Cape Shore Property Management, EnSite, Inc., Fox4., Internet Essentials from Comcast, Lee County Electric Cooperative, Lipman Family Farms, Logical Choice Realty, Mark Loren Designs, Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial, Publix Super Markets Charities, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Scotlynn Transport LLC, Lee County Sherriff’s Office, and Above Board Chamber of Florida

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast
For over 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast has been matching youth in meaningful, enduring, professionally supported mentoring relationships with adult volunteers who defend their potential and help them achieve their biggest possible futures. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ evidence-based approach is designed to create positive youth outcomes, including educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence, and improved relationships. This past year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast has served over 1,800 youth across a 10 county footprint. Learn how to get involved at
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Lee County
Kelly Palmer

Collier County
Ashley Kilmer
This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.