BBBSMV mentor receives an Iowa Excellence in Mentoring Award  

Yvonne Lyons, left, of Bettendorf has been selected as a recipient of the Iowa Excellence in Mentoring Award. She's seen her with her Little Sister Carissa. CREDIT BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY

Yvonne Lyons of Bettendorf, a 14-year Big brothers Big Sister of the Mississippi Valley (BBBSMV) mentor has been selected as a recipient of the Iowa Excellence in Mentoring Award for 2024.  

Ms. Lyons is one of four people selected for this award in the State of Iowa. They were honored at a special reception at the Iowa State Capital on April 30.

The Bettendorf woman has served as a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley for 14 years. She has beeb matched with her Little Sister Carissa for seven years.

The Excellence in Mentoring Award recognizes outstanding longtime youth mentors. 

Individuals selected have served as a mentor a minimum of two years. They exemplify both the spirit and positive benefits of mentoring. Mentors are selected based on their advocacy and leadership in mentoring, innovation, impact, commitment to their mentee, the match relationship, and the program itself. 

The Iowa Excellence in Mentoring Award is given annually through a nomination, review and selection process. Nominations of mentors are submitted from across Iowa.

Ms. Lyons initially inquired about being a mentor with BBBSMV 14 years ago. She has focused on making a positive impact and building a relationship with a mentee by utilizing her strengths of reliability, empathy, and patience. 

Ms. Lyons has been in three matches. She and her current Little, Carissa began their match in our school-based program. They met at school during Carissa’s lunch and recess time.

Committed BBBSMV mentor

Ms. Lyons understood the importance of helping make Carissa feel comfortable, being patient and taking the time to get to know each other., BBBSMV said in a news release. After one year, they transitioned to the community-based program to experience new things together in the community.

This committed mentor also has been a supportive advocate for BBBSMV for more than 14 years. Since she was first matched with Carissa, they committed to meeting at least twice per month.

As a mentor, Ms. Lyons exemplifies the importance of meeting a child where they are. She  always taking the time and patience to allow Carissa to guide the match relationship and their activities together, with Yvonne providing gentle suggestions here and there, BBBSMV said.

Last Christmas, Carissa gave Yvonne an artistic holiday gift she took the time to make by hand. It had Yvonne’s name and “Best Big” on the front. Carissa included text that read: “Thank you for making the last 7 years some of the best years of my life. I’m so grateful for the memories and experiences we’ve shared and I’m excited for more to come. Thanks for being the best Big.”

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