OSCAR TALKS to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona

I did not know how to start this broadcast and how to wrap my head about my conversation with the team behind Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona, but I realized minutes before going LIVE, that the only way for the public to understand my passion and support to this organization was to tell my own story.

My early days in the USA were supported by who was my boss while I worked as a Finishes Architect during the construction of the American Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. Mr. Randy Stevens became my mentor and once the job was done, he asked me to consider to coming to the USA to continue my studies or to give this myself a chance on experiencing the USA.

So, once I finished my masters studies in Interiors in Spain, and all the internships I singed for across Europe, I called him and he and his darling wife Norma (no longer with us) opened the doors of his home for me. Coincidentally, he lived in Phoenix, a city close enough to Taliesin West School of Architecture, a subject part of my thesis project about American Modernism and the life of American Architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

See, that mentorship allowed me to talk to him about subjects that I perhaps would not talk to my parents, or since they were not part of my field, they had only personal input. Here I had someone I trusted, someone who knew me for 4 years of work, and someone I was able to have a conversation with, with the outmost respect for one to another.

He once told me (paraphrasing);

  • ” All I care for, is for you to use all of your talents to create your own version of happiness. Which is at the end what every single human is looking for,…Be happy!”

I will never forget those words.

This video that was run during the podcast, narrates the importance of mentorship in a very personal way, take a look/listen:

The conversation started with Laura Capello, President & CEO of BBBSAZ. We talked about how the program keeps running with almost no hiccup. How the connection between the Bigs and the Littles is stronger due to the harsh moment we are experiencing, and we talked about the imperative need of mentorship during these stressful times, to kids that are looking to be mentored.

After 9 years working on this field, Laura understood the real purpose of mentorship and guidance. He is still in contact with her little, or mentee. All “matches” for Bigs and Littles go through a process to make sure both parts are, well, a “match”!

What surpassed me the most, is that a vast number of kids (boys) that need men as mentors. Across the USA there are more than 1k matches, but there is a great need of men mentors.

Unfortunately, most of the male kids are live in neighborhoods and areas of the city, where help is not easy to come by. In Phoenix, West and South Phoenix are the areas that need the most help. Kids that are at risk with issues such as drug and alcohol, or parents incinerated, or other issues that require help and guidance.

Remember that there is always a Social Worker attached to each match that helps to navigate the relationship and some potential moments in the relationship that need attention.

If you want to be a mentor (you really want to) this is the link where you can sign-in here.

Check the interview and see how can you help and become part of it.

Now, to sustain the program, there is always the need to have in the organization a Vice-President of Development and Marketing agent, and that was my conversation with Jessica Whitney.

We spoke of the multiple ways to donate, the need to raise funs to continue the labor of love that is this foundation. It was a very difficult year for fundraiser, but the donors have come though and the even within the pandemic financial losses, the donations keep coming.

One of their biggest advocates is AZ Family’s Meteorologist Paul Horton, who organizes year after year, a car wash to rise funds for BBBAZ. This year was no exception.

Image from 2019 “Pay It Forward – Car Wash” hosted by Paul Horton.

The organization has an annual event by the name of “Big Night Out“, which I’ve been participant of as a committee member, as a Co-chair and as a Chairman. But, of course, this year the event had to take a completely different approach and pivot to a HYBRID event.

This year, with a safari theme that promise to bring lots of fun for those who attend personally, or those who attend virtually.

Check their page here.

I had the opportunity during this show/podcast to talk to the chairs of this year. The first couple Andy and Amy were able to chat with us and give us exciting news for the upcoming “In the Wild” evening!

The Walters, Andy & Amy, spoke with us about the institution. How were they introduced to BBBSAZ, and how was Amy was part of the School program. They take to us about what are they planning to make the HYBRID event unique, and how can all of us contribute to the “Big Night Out“.

The other couple Co-Charing the event; Kimberly and Chris, had also the opportunity to talk to us about the upcoming event, and their early relationship with an organization that they will keep supporting. Not to mention a fantastic surprise for a LIVE auction item!

So, this BIG NIGHT OUT gala this year is going to be BIG!, Either on your screen (cell phone, lap top, computer or TV) you will have full access to all the details of the event via LIVE STREAM, or you can go to in person to the JW Marriott Camelback-Inn and be part of the “Social Distance” and In-person gala in the patio of the resort (tickets for in-person are almost gone, so make your reservation today).

Now, this is a video from both Co-Chairs taped at the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park, who happens to be one of the sponsors of this year’s gala. Look how much fun they had taping the invitation, plus a mention of some exciting guests!

We talked about the details of the night and those details that you do not want to miss!

Plus, we had the chance to see/hear the message from the President of the Board of Directors, Teresa Strunk and her own invitation to the event:

It was a true pleasure to have had all these community leaders that are speerheading this unique opportunity that is based on “pivoting” and “adjusting” ourselves to what could well be, our new reality.

This time my “Hollywood Squares” were almost full and it was great to hear each and every-single one of them to talk about their commitment to this organization.

So, we all hope that you are able to be part somehow of this incredible effort, and this is the page to do so;


To close, I wanted you to see this heartfelt video that describes closely (with faces and names) the power of mentorship.

A community together, can always forge strong metals into works of art!, I read once.

You can watch the complete interview on this link, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Always in style (and with my community).

Oscar ~

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