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AmbassadorsIntroducing our Big Brothers Big Sisters Ambassadors

Big Brothers Big Sisters Ambassadors group consists of a select group of individuals who will represent Big Brothers Big Sisters for local radio and television interviews, public speaking engagements and fundraising events throughout the year!

Bradley Dennison
Angela L. Dixon
Anthony Garcia
Rodney S. Jones
Donece Knudsen
Jeff Martin
Ryan McCauley
David Morris 
Mary Dawn Murr
Gary Renola 
Lorraine Wakeland

Bradley Dennison

 

 

 Bradley Dennison has been a Big Brother to his Little Brother Timothy since 2007. Bradley was named the 2012 Community Based Big Brother of the Year and has been an Ambassador for Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2011.  Bradley is very proud of Timothy who, among other things, is an honor roll student as a sophomore in high school and is an Over Essary Scholar which helps him focus on gaining admission into college.  Bradley has successfully recruited 5 of his friends as fellow Big Brothers, and he has two more friends in the application process.

Bradley grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is the middle of 7 kids.  Bradley and his wife Kimberly have been married for 11 years and have been very happy with their relocation to Houston in 2006.  They have a two year old son and are expecting their second child in September.  Bradley received his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University and a Master’s in Taxation from Northeastern University in Boston.  He has earned his CPA license and the CFA designation and has been a Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch since 2006.  Bradley and his family are active members at St. Anne Catholic Church, and he and Timothy can often be found at any number of sporting events in the Greater Houston area.

Angela L. Dixon  

Angela L. Dixon is the owner of the Law Office of Angela L. Dixon, P.L.L.C. and practices in the areas of family law, social security disability law, wills and probate, and personal injury law.  She earned her bachelors degree from Alabama A&M University, an M.B.A from St. Ambrose University and law degree from the University of Iowa.  Angela serves as an adjunct professor for Houston Community College Southeast Campus.

Angela has been a big sister to her little sister Jamalia with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for 6 years.  Her dedication to the program and her little sister led to her recently being selected as the 2011 Big Sister of the Year for Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star. Not only has Angela support her little sister but her family as well.  She once served as the family’s attorney when they were facing eviction and supported them through a devastating fire in which they lost most of their belongings. During the course of their relationship, Angela and Jamalia have attended countless concerts, movies, sporting events, agency events, school events and more.

Over the years, Angela has become much more than just a mentor for Jamalia. She's helped her excel both personally and academically. Jamalia will be the first in her family to graduate high school is June 2011 and in the fall, Jamalia will be the first one in her family members to attend college.  To date, Jamalia has applied to five colleges, been accepted by two and now encourages her cousins and friends to go to college as well. Angela and Jamalia have a sisterly relationship that will last long after their match closes this summer.

Anthony Garcia

Anthony Garcia is from Detroit, Michigan. He attended Sam Houston State University where he was an active member in a fraternity and held multiple offices.  One of his favorite aspects of Greek life was philanthropy, including his work with the Head Start Huntsville, a daycare designed to help underprivileged families have the ability to give their children a better educational environment than they can afford. Soon after graduation, he began working for Select Asset Management, a small private wealth management company.  Throughout his employment, he has acquired a life and health insurance license, Series 7 license, and Series 66 License. He is currently studying for his Certified Financial Planners License. He is married to Mindi, and they have a15-month baby boy named Parker. 

 

When Anthony was first matched with his Little brother Robby, his father had recently passed from cancer; he was struggling in school and struggled to communicate with anyone. After two outings with Anthony, he opened up once Anthony began discussing wrestling. Robby is currently an A student in mostly all Advanced Placement courses, involved in athletics and is an all round happy kid. Anthony says he cannot take credit for all of Robby’s successes, because Robby has had some amazing people in his life over the past few years, but he is ecstatic to have played a part in his life because he knows his future is bright.

Rodney S. Jones

Rodney S. Jones is originally from Chicago, IL.  He attended the University of Texas at Austin and studied music with a concentration in vocal performance and later on pursued knowledge in African American History.  During college, Rodney gravitated towards the founding principles of the first Black Greek letter organization, and soon thereafter became a member.  Manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind is what the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. exemplified on and off campus.  He saw himself perpetuating these characteristics when I voluntarily assumed full legal custody of his two younger sisters while enrolled as a full time student. 

The need to continually sow into the lives of our youth is something I carried into my adult years which is why he became involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters. In a matter of weeks,  he was introduced to his Little Brother Erion.  Since then,  he's been able impart wisdom, life principles, and priceless values into the young man. He continues to believe that if he changes the life of one child, he's done his job,  because there no limit to how many that "one" will change.

Donece Knudsen

Donece Knudsen is from the Houston area and has always enjoyed kids. While attending the University of Houston, she was profoundly impacted by an exceptional instructor that led her change career paths. She considers her time with that instructory her first introduction to mentoring. The instructor was  enthusiastic and passionate about his work. Through the lessons learned, mentoring has became a big part of her life. She is currently employed with Shell Oil Company for 13 years, where she is a Global Strategy & Planning Manager for their Downstream Project Delivery group. At Shell, she has several mentees of various ages and experience levels.  

 
In 2007,  she was named as a  Honoree for the Association of Women in Computing, primarily for her mentoring activities, including her relationship with her Little Brother Jayvier.  Donece and Jayvier have been matched for five years.  He's now almost 13 and much taller than the day they first met! In 2010, Donece was named Big Sister of the Year for the Greater Houston area.  Because of Donece's dedication to mentoring and working with Jayvier, he has grown into a confident young man.  Donece says that her Little Brother makes her proud to be part of the program.

Jeff Martin

 

 

 

Jeff Martin is the owner of Martin Recruitment Solutions, a full service staffing agency that services clients in the Greater Houston area. He graduated in 2003 from Texas A&M University with a degree in Management. He currently serves on the Board of Directors as a Vice President for the La Porte – Bayshore Chamber of Commerce, is an active member in the Seabrook Rotary Club, Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity and a Mason. He is a founding member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Young Professional Group (Greater Houston Chapter) and is proud to serve on the Big Brothers Big Sisters Resource Development Committee.
 
Jeff and Eric have been matched for five years this February; they have attended countless movies, sporting events, agency events and much more. In the Elementary School days Eric’s favorite thing to do was to have Jeff come have lunch with him at school and hang out with all the other kids. Now that he’s in Jr. High School.  Eric prefers more exciting outings like going jet skiing! Jeff and Eric have been featured in an article in the Memorial Buzz magazine and also in an interview with Jennifer Reyna of KPRC Channel 2. Eric loves the attention and has been known to sign autographs for his friends.

Eric is currently a 6th grade student. He has a very loving, extremely hard working mother that does her best to provide for Eric and his two siblings.  Unfortunately, he has never had the opportunity to get to know his father or to have a positive male influence in his life. Eric is outgoing, energetic, amazingly creative and intelligent. He is proud to be a member of the all A&B honor roll at his school.

Ryan McCauley                    

Ryan McCauley received a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in English from Saint Louis University in May, 2004. Upon graduation, Ryan joined Bank One (now JPMorgan Chase) and has held a variety of roles in Retail Financial Services, Treasury and Securities Services and Commercial Banking.

In 2009, he joined the Houston Commercial Bank as a Relationship Manager for Healthcare and Non-Profit organizations. In 2010, he joined the Houston Volunteer Leadership Group helping steer the philanthropic efforts of local employees. In the same year he helped JPMorgan Chase, Ripley House Charter School and Big Brothers partner in the Beyond School Walls initiative matching 25 at-risk students with employee mentors. Ryan currently is a Big Brothers Big Sisters Young Professional and Resource Development Committee Member. He has been a Big Brother two Little Brothers for four years. He and his currentl Little Brother, Sergio have been matched for 2 1/2 years.

Ryan also serves many other local non-profits in a Young Professional Leadership capacity including the Greater Houston Partnership, United Way, Catholic Charities and the Houston Food Bank.

 
 
 
 
David Morris
 
 

David Morris has been matched with his little brother for two and a half years. He and his Little enjoy going to museums and sporting events, watching 3D movies on the big screen, and exploring different parts of the City of Houston.

David received a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University in 2005, and a Master of Science in Visualization Sciences from A&M in 2007. For the last three years, David has worked as an IT Consultant for Pariveda Solutions. David has also taught courses at Texas A&M at the graduate and undergraduate level dealing with graphic design, computer aided drafting, 3d modeling and animation, and architectural design.

He is the founder of 3DCAMP Houston, a free conference for 3D professionals from various industries including architecture, engineering, film, television, game development, health, geophysical, and education. He is an avid runner, skier and tennis player, and often pretends to be good at golf. David is also a member of the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance and the Downtown Houston Alliance, and is riding in the MS150 bike ride from Houston to Austin this April.
 

 

 

Mary Dawn Murr

Mary Dawn Murr is from Vicksburg, Mississippi, but considers herself a "true Texan" now since she has lived in Houston for more than half of her life. 

Her impressive 20-year career in education includes working with elementary-aged students first as a teacher and now as an assistant principal in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.  She has been married for six years.  Although they do not have their own children, she enjoys projects and activities that allow her to work with children.  She became interested in being a Big Sister because of that love for children.  She believe in the power of strong relationships...they can help a child succeed in life.  She believes that,  "Every child deserves to have someone who cares!"

Gary Renola

Gary Renola has been a Big Brother for 12 years to three different Little Brothers and has served as a mentor for the past three years to his current Little Brother, Jacob.

Jacob’s academic timeline has been wrought with struggle. When he was first enrolled in Head Start, he was diagnosed with ADHD and he maintained a “C” average in the 4th grade. With Gary’s help two years later, Jacob was in 6th grade honors courses and was thinking about college. Recently, Jacob was invited by Duke University to participate in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP) and has been recognized because of his high score on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test.

Not only has Jacob excelled at school, he has taken on new challenges including music and sports.  Jacob is a Boy Scout and has participated in All City and All Region band, tried out for the football team for the first time and currently plays on his school’s basketball team. Gary also exemplifies advocacy for the local agency. Gary has been involved in fundraising since he began volunteering. Most recently, Gary has been instrumental in the success of the Bay Area Bowl for Kids Sake. He has helped raise thousands of dollars for the event and has served for six years on the Board of Directors for the agency and has served on the Advisory Council since then. He also brings enthusiastic support to agency events. Recently, he attended and brought several guests to the Big Brothers Big Sisters 60th anniversary celebration.

 Lorraine Wakeland

Lorraine Wakeland Lorraine Wakeland was born in Southern California.  She is the youngest of five children. She received her Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Special Education from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

As a sixth grade teacher, Lorraine had the unique privilege of teaching at her alma mater, Bay Area Christian.  She is currently employed as an Adult Education Instructor in the ABE/GED department at College of the Mainland. Lorraine is a state certified trainer for the Special Learning Needs Project in collaboration with Texas LEARNS and Project GREAT.  She is also a trainer for the Coastal GREAT presenting Differentiated Instructional Strategies for Adult Learners. Lorraine and her husband Richard are currently adopting their first child. They are members of First Baptist Church of Webster, where they participate in a number of volunteer activities. 

Lorraine was matched with her Little Brother Tommy in 2007.  Lorraine has watched Tommy grow from a little boy whose father had recently passed from cancer to a young man planning his future. Tommy has overcome his speech impediment and is now an A/B student. Tommy and Lorraine enjoy the arts, sports and any activity that is outdoors.  They split their outings between fun and volunteer activities.  Coming from a large family she knows how important it is for every child to have one on one time with an adult.  Lorraine is very happy that Tommy is excited to be a “Big Brother” to her child. 

 

Interested in scheduling one of our Ambassadors to speak at your event,  email ksmith@bbbstx.org.

 

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