Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year announced
A police officer first decided to try and keep young men on the straight and narrow because he wanted young people to avoid bad influences that could lead to them meeting on an official basis.
Now, 16 years on, Corville Hylton has taken a total of five young men under his wing as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda team and has just won its Big Brother of the Year award — for the second time.
Mr Hylton, a police constable who is “big brother” to two 14-year-old boys, Ta-Ziyah Kelly and Keizae Tankard, said: “I am a police officer and joining Big Brothers is something I thought was necessary because some of our young men need guidance so they will not end up meeting me in other places.
“Contributing to them will help us as police officers.
“We see a lot of young men who could do incredibly well in their lives but don’t have that person who believes in them and encourages them — that can set them back.
“They need someone to cheer them on and encourage them.”
Jennifer Howard was given the Big Sister of the Year award at a ceremony held at The White Horse Pub and Restaurant in St George on Sunday.
Mr Hylton’s first three little brothers have now grown out of the programme but he is still in contact with them.
One is at university in the UK, one is at university in Canada and the other joined the British Army.
Mr Hylton, who also scooped the Big Brother of the Year award in 2010, said he had become part of all of his little brothers’ families.
He encouraged people who were prepared to give the time and effort to sign up to make a difference in young lives.
Mr Hylton said: “This is an awesome programme. Look at what you can do to make a positive difference and an impact. You will make a friend for life.
“I don’t go into the programme to get anything from them but you do get so much out of it.
“Working with the children helps you to relive your childhood. You may go to the track, ride bicycles, seek out culture like Harbour Nights, attend family functions, cricket, football, concerts. The list is endless.”
Ta-Ziyah Kelly, who nominated Mr Hylton, said in a voice note that was played at the awards ceremony: “Since I was nine years old, Uncle Corville has been in my life.
“He has been such a great support system to me. He has attended graduations, recitals, takes me loquat picking. I remember I was way up in this tree getting loquats and Uncle Corville, down the bottom with the bag, said, ‘If you need anyone to help you pick loquats, uncle Corville is the man’.
“We go bike riding, we go fishing and I don’t think we have caught any fish but we just enjoy the time out.
“An important part of what he has introduced me to is Toastmasters International, which is a programme to help me become more comfortable in speaking and presenting.
“Whether he wins this or not, he will be my big brother of the year, every year.”
Ms Howard has been “big sister” to Asaiya Brangman, 15, since 2017.
Asaiya lost her mother when she was 3 and her family said that having Ms Howard in her life had helped.
Ms Howard added: “I wanted to give back to the community but I think I get a lot from it too — especially watching Asaiya grow and develop.
“She was quiet and softly spoken but she is so confident now. Her long-term goal is to go overseas. She is interested in physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
“She lost her mother at a really young age and she doesn’t have a mother figure. This has created a lot of support for her. I have made a friend and a sister for life.”
Ms Howard said: “We are so similar. We have the same sense of humour and the same interests.
“We do anything and everything. Her favourite activity is going to the aquarium. She feels comfortable there.
“Family is important to both of us, so she spends time with my family and I spend time with hers.”
Joan Butterfield, Asaiya’s great-grandmother, added: “They bake together, go to the movies, she goes to Jennifer’s mom’s house. It has been wonderful for her.”
Patrina O'Connor-Paynter, the managing director of the charity, congratulated the winners and appealed to others to follow their path.
She said even people who could not spare the time to be a big brother or sister could help in other ways.
Ms O’Connor-Paynter said: “You may have a skill set you can offer to a child. You can help them with their homework or teach them how to make a kite.
“We ask the question — what do you have to offer?”
For more information or to volunteer, click here.