Never too Young to Give Back

 Ernest Hooper reported recently, in the St. Petersburg Times, on 17 year old Devante Robinson .  Robinson, the 2nd youngest of 11 children, believes youth need supportive and committed mentors to keep them on a safe, productive and healthy path.

He’s one of one of more than 130 high school students who mentor elementary school children through a Big Brothers Big Sisters “High School Bigs” program.

Inspired by his volunteer experience in the program, Robinson felt moved to organize a Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraiser at Hillsborough High School, where he’s a senior.

“…it takes Big Brothers $1,000 just to get me to be a ‘big,’ with the cost of the background check and the training, “Robinson told the Times. “I figured if I could do something possibly to help this program or just help one person, it would be good.”

He raised $400 through the fundraiser, although he was disappointed he didn’t draw more student interest.  He told Hooper he understood that people his age want to  live their teen lives, “But at the same time,”‘ he said, ” when you see what’s going on in the community, you listen to the rap music, something has to be done. If things keep going the way they are now, it’s not going to get any better.”

Robinson intends to be the person who gets things done, with plans to be the first person in his family to attend college, and to keep trying to get the word out to other young people about the value of mentoring.  To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters High School Bigs and other programs, visit their website at

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