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2012: John and Leilani Delbert

John and Leilani Delbert Honored with the 2012 Brian T. Wagner Award

The Delberts' story began when John introduced the idea of becoming a "Big Family" in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program to his wife and three daughters. Without hesitation, the entire family jumped onboard.

John, Leilani and their three girls, Peyton, Adrienne, and Paige, were matched with their Little Brother Bryan in February 2005. From the very beginning, Bryan fit right in with his Big Family. The Delberts included him in weekly family activities, from dinner to game nights to shopping, camping, and just hanging out. The family helped nine-year-old Bryan learn to tie his shoes, memorize his address, and complete his school work. They also enabled Bryan to experience his first Easter egg hunt, hockey game and scavenger hunt. In September 2005, the Delberts and Bryan were recognized as Big Brothers Big Sisters Match of the Year.

Over the years, the Delbert children have continued their family's legacy by becoming school-based Big Sisters at John McIntire Elementary. Recently, the family's commitment to their Little Brother took a major turn. Bryan's Mom confided to the Delberts that Bryan was getting into trouble at school and was concerned he was headed down the wrong path. It was jointly decided Bryan would move in with the Delberts, and John became his guardian.

Today, Bryan's teachers compliment his improved behavior and positive attitude. Bryan's grades have gone from Ds and Fs to straight As. He is no longer angry and talks about how happy he is. The Delbert family has turned the Big Brothers Big Sisters goal to change lives for the better, into reality for one young boy who is growing into a responsible, caring citizen.

The Wagner Award is named in honor of Brian T. Wagner who established early an exceptional record of volunteer leadership of nonprofit organizations. It is presented to a community volunteer no older than 55 years of age. The recipients of the award are selected by the Muskingum County Community Foundation Council, a board of volunteers who organize and manage the special events of the Community Foundation including this evenings celebration. The Foundation Council provides $1,000 to the charity selected by the recipient.

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