Big and Little Stars at Futuristic Gala


Big Brother Andrew Flaniken and Little Brother Javier served as the Gala’s Point of Light

Click here to view more photos from the event.

(September 25, 2016) – Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) hosted its annual Big Black Tie Ball at the beautiful Omni Houston Hotel on Friday, September 23rd. The lively gala, themed “Gen Z: Vision for the Future”, featured innovative technology and fashion exhibits by ExxonMobil, HP Enterprises, In-Depth Experience/Optech4, KIPP InvenTeam, and Muse as well as local couture designers Danny Nguyen and Becky Hollands. KPRC Local 2 Anchor, Rachel McNeill, served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the inspiring program that highlighted the nonprofit’s mission and the positive impact a mentor can have on the future for children in the Houston community.

BBBS proudly honored educational pioneer, Mike Feinberg, Co-Founder of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Foundation and Executive Vice Chair of KIPP Houston Public Schools. Following the award presentation, Big Black Tie Ball’s Chair, Sarah Bolka, a BBBS Board Member and ardent supporter of the mission, introduced the Gen Z theme with a video featuring children in the BBBS program sharing why they like their Big Brother or Big Sister as well as their hopes and dreams for their future. Bolka thanked the many donors and guests for helping these children realize their full potential through one-to-one mentoring programs and acknowledged her own mentee in attendance, Lauren, who she was matched with last year in the technology-based mentor2.0 program.

The highlight of the evening was the many Bigs (mentors) and Littles (mentees) in attendance, including Big Brother Andrew Flaniken and his Little Brother Javier who were the evening’s Point of Light. Andrew and Javier will be celebrating their 3 year anniversary in December 2016.They enjoy hanging out, watching movies, playing Top Golf, spending time outside playing basketball, and complicated math equations. Andrew and Javier were recently featured on 104.1 KRBE’s Roula and Ryan Show, a broadcast that helped to recruit over 15 volunteers for the BBBS program. Having just started the 7th grade at Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan, Javier has always been a straight A student, while flourishing and obtaining all possible achievements in his favorite subject of math. Javier wants to take those exemplary math skills and become an architect. Twelve-year old Javier spoke to over 430 guests in attendance with a calm, sophisticated poise and the match concluded with a rehearsed handshake exemplifying their strong bond.

Guests enjoyed an exciting silent, live, and BIG board auctions, including an entertaining auctioneer performance by Pierce Bush, CEO of BBBS, and Darryl Blackburn, former Little Brother, Big Brother, and current Board Member. Following the program, guests packed the dance floor for Professor D and band leader Scott White who is also a Big Brother.

The dazzling gala raised over $300,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters with funds benefiting Houston-area children facing adversity. These funds will allow children to be matched with a positive mentor who will help enrich their life and encourage them to reach their highest potential through educational motivation, fun adventures, and overall, a safe and stable relationship.

Premier and Point of Light Sponsors include: BB&T, Aramco, C. James & Carol Walter Looke Family Fund, HEB, John P McGovern Foundation, Bain & John Pitts, Angie Gildea & KPMG, Alex & MK Fleming Family Trust, Sarah and Doug Foshee, HP Enterprises, Phillips 66

About Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring organization, provides children facing adversity, often those of single or low-income households or families where a parent is incarcerated or serving in the military, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 66 year history in Greater Houston. BBBS holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as educational success; avoidance of risky behaviors; and higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships. BBBS serves nearly 2,000 children, volunteers and families annually. Learn how you can positively impact a child’s life – donate or volunteer at