MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Slowly but surely, charitable organizations are returning to in-person events after more than a year of virtual fundraisers and galas.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami held its ever-popular Jazz at Joe’s event at the world-famous Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach Tuesday.READ MORE: Seminoles Suspend Sports Betting After Court Rulings
And while the stone crabs there are always a hit, a special bond between a big and little stole the show.
“You’re part of the family. You’re part of the sisterhood,” said Gale Nelson, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, as he introduced Debbie Tyler and Destyni Govan.
Not by blood, but by bond, Debbie and Destyni are sisters matched through BBBS of Miami.
“She was my first little. Fifteen years ago I was matched for the first time and she was 8,” said Debbie, who also happens to be the Co-Chair of BBBS of Miami.
Destyni had just lost her father to suicide. But Debbie was there to help her along the way.
“She has always been pushing me to be my best self. Always wanted the best for me. That’s all I can thank her for,” Destyni said.READ MORE: Bob Dole, World War II Veteran, Senator & Presidential Nominee, Has Died At 98
The two women shared their story at the annual fundraising event Tuesday where CBS4 Anchor Lauren Pastrana served as Mistress of Ceremonies.
It marked the return of the event that was held virtually last year because of the pandemic.
“It is so heartwarming and emotional. We’re back,” said Nelson. “Everyone is outside enjoying themselves. No virtual backgrounds and folks having a good time for a great cause.”
The hope is seeing the special bond these sisters share will inspire others to join in.
“That sisterhood has just grown and blossomed. Deb is now Co-Chair of our Board of Directors and Destyni is now a fulltime staffer making matches helping other children,” said Nelson.
“Now all I want is more Debbie’s and Destyni’s around,” Destyni said. “I want people to really take their time and commit.”
“It is my forever family and the organization will be with me for life,” Debbie added.MORE NEWS: Banksy 'Charlie Brown' Sells For $4 Million, While Child Prodigy Thrills Crowd With His Artwork
The event raised more than $200,000. But there are plenty more opportunities to contribute, including during this week’s Give Miami Day.