New home for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Arizona offers new opportunities for Arizona kids

It’s a special space that will be on hand, and it’s all to one larger-than-life donation from Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker.
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 6:22 PM MST|Updated: Oct. 17, 2022 at 6:24 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Arizona has a new home, and it’s a place for Bigs and Littles to spend time together.

It’s a special space that will be on hand, and it’s all to one larger-than-life donation from Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker. In a recorded message to all on hand at Paul’s Car Wash in 2021, Booker made a special announcement. “I am thrilled to let you know you are the recipient of this year’s Devin Booker Starting Five Grant.” This $100,000 donation from the grant has turned one big dream into a big reality.

The Devin Booker Pavilion isn’t quite done, but we got a sneak peek of this and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona’s new location. It provides a space to play sports and a computer lab to search for jobs and work on resumes. Jessica Whitney with Big Brothers, Big Sisters said this is so important for the group. “It’s a place where they can come and be together and have activities. They also get to interact with other bigs and littles which I think is going to be a key change for them. They’re going to have the opportunity to see each other, to learn from each other and really get to know one another.”

Having this space is a game changer for everyone involved. “Our mission is to serve as many youths as we can with positive adult mentors,” Whitney said, “And by having this event space, we’re able to bring them in, they can actually use that activity center and they’ll be able to build their relationship here with us.” Another bonus to this large space is being able to hold fundraising events.

They hosted a casino night in September and plan to have many more events. There is a need for not only financial support but volunteers as well. “We have 200 kids on the waiting list and about 85% are boys. We have a lot of need in the West Valley. Sometimes in the West Valley our boys can wait about two years, so we’d really like to get more men in the West Valley interested in mentoring.”

Because of the community partners, the organization can send bigs and littles to low-cost activities. They also get tickets for various sporting events, including the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, and Suns. In addition, to help with activities, there is also help to navigate the mentoring process. “What sets us apart as a unique mentoring organization is, we have dedicated program specialists that are here to guide our bigs so they’re not out there alone mentoring youth. They actually have guidance from case managers.” Whitney said.