Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City has named Tyler Way, a 2006 Chillicothe High School graduate, as the 2018 Big Brother of the Year.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City has named Tyler Way, a 2006 Chillicothe High School graduate, as the 2018 Big Brother of the Year. Way was honored recently during the BBBSKC Match Appreciation Banquet at the Overland Park Convention Center. More than 1,000 people attended the red carpet-style event which was designed to honor the more than 2,500 ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ matched through the program in Kansas City. Way was among four volunteers recognized as ‘Bigs of the Year.’ These ‘Bigs” were nominated by their Littles, parents or case managers in the BBBS program. Winners were selected by a committee. Way, 30, now residing Kansas City, has been matched with his Little Brother, Will, for four years. Will has cerebral palsy and his mom, Stephanie, signed him up after his father passed away, stating that she knew he needed a male mentor. “I thought he has to have somebody else in his life,” Steph-anie said in a BBBSKC video (http://ow.ly/aa7l30jtTON) talking about Will’s match with Way. “I wanted him to have experiences I couldn’t give him.” Will,13, is in eighth grade. “I wanted someone to talk to and hang out with,” Will said in the video. My favorite thing about Tyler is that he is funny. Ever since I have been matched with him I feel like I have had a great role model in my life. Someone that I can look up to.” Way has helped Will persevere and try things out of his comfort zone, including participating in the middle school’s musical. Way, during high school, enjoyed participating in drama and choir. Way has become Will’s best friend and confidant. “Will is so cool,” Way said in the video. “I hope that when I was his age I was half as cool as he is. He and I get along very well. I feel like I’m just hanging out with my younger brother.” Will said that his life is better with Way being a part of it. “I have a goal to live the best life I can,” he said. “I think I’m still in the process of reaching it, but he’s definitely helped me get closer.” “I’m excited to be a part of his life,” Tyler added. “I’m excited to see the young adult that he’s going to turn into.” Way is the son of Paula Roberts, of Chillicothe, and Stephen Way, of Parkville. He currently resides in Kansas City where he is a sales representative for Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. The Match Appreciation Banquet brought together the organization’s Bigs, Littles and other supporters to celebrate friendship and the power each match has on the community, according to Michael Lawrence, CEO of BBBSKC. “The unbelievable stories of dedication continue to prove that sometimes a friend is all it takes to change a life,” Lawrence said. BBBSKC currently has more than 500 children and teens from throughout the Kansas City metro area waiting to be matched with local adults who can provide mentorship, friendship and be a role model. There are a variety of ways to get involved and support BBBS, including two mentor-specific opportunities in which volunteers are particularly needed in 2018. These include the Community-Based program that matches children ages 8 – 14 from one-parent or non-traditional households with caring, adult mentors, as well as the ACES program, a new initiative designed to support teens and young adults through high school and post secondary education.