HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 3, 2016 – High Point University senior Jasmine Williams received the honor of “Big of the Year” at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Piedmont Gala on Jan. 30.
The journalism major from Montgomery Village, Maryland, has volunteered as a mentor and “Big Sister” since 2012. She’s also held several fundraisers for the organization, including raising more than $1,000 during the Bowl-for-Kids-Sake event to help match more children in need of mentors.
“Jasmine is always willing to do what is needed,” says Laura Carlson, match support specialist with Big Brothers Big Sisters who nominated Williams for the award. “I can always count on her to be there, and she is a joy to be around. When I first matched her, she was willing to be matched with a boy when most girls her age prefer females. Also, she has held an office in the Big Brothers Big Sisters club for two years, raising money to bring kids to HPU for activities there. She’s always been the top fundraiser in the college category.”
For the past four years, Williams has mentored her “Little,” Yave Maldonado, a fifth-grader at a High Point elementary school who lost his mother to a car accident. They work on homework together, visit the school library or computer lab, and play kickball during recess. He’s also joined her on HPU’s campus for Halloween parties, Easter egg hunts and other events for the children.
Williams says she’s cherished watching Yave grow and become like a part of her family.
“I have had so many amazing mentors over the years, and I wanted to have that influential role in a child’s life,” Williams says. “He’s very similar to me when I was his age. I try to help him learn from my mistakes. I wasn’t as focused in school when I was younger, so I help him realize just how important school is for his future. He gets tough love from me sometimes, but it’s all to make him a better person.”
In addition to her service to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Williams is a member of Alpha Chi, a national college honor society that recognizes the top 10 percent of the senior class, a Student Justice and a member of the Student Alumni Council. She also is a supervisor at HPU’s Survey Research Center, vice president of HPU’s chapter for the National Association of Black Journalists and president of Lambda Pi Eta, the national communication honor society. She was named HPU’s Extraordinary Leader in August 2015.