Alyssa Ivanson Losier, a weekend news anchor and reporter with WANE, Channel 15, recently was named national Big Sister of the Year by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Losier, known on-air by her maiden name, has been a Big Sister to 18-year-old Jordain, no last name available, since 2007 through the local Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, a news release said. The award presentation took place during Big Brothers Big Sisters' national conference in late June in Denver.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America selects the national Big Sister and Big Brother of the year from hundreds of nominations from the organization's 340 local agencies across the country, the news release said.
At the national convention, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana also was recognized as the midsized “Agency of the Year” and midsized “Board of the Year” by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
The three national awards will be celebrated during an event in mid-August in Fort Wayne.
Losier also was named Indiana Big Sister of the Year this spring by the state Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
Big Brothers Big Sisters partners with parents, guardians, schools, businesses and individuals to provide screened, volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) for one-to-one mentoring matches with youngsters (“Littles”) in the community, the news release said.
Jordain, who was 12 when matched with Losier, was extremely shy and had difficulty making contact with people, the news release said.
“Throughout the match, Alyssa and Jordain's parents were aware of Jordain's challenges, but only recently was Jordain actually diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism) by medical experts,” the news release said.
Losier worked with Jordain's parents to help Jordain build her communication skills, including now being more confident, making eye contact during conversations and placing her own order at restaurants, the news release said.
“It was a steady process that began with scrapbooking,” Losier said in the news release. “It's a hobby we both enjoy, and working so closely on something so personal helped build trust.”
“I always felt safe with her,” Jordain said in the news release. “She's been extremely supportive when it comes to me, and she also gives me an honest opinion on whatever I ask. I feel like my life would've been completely different if I didn't have Alyssa as a part of it. She's a great friend and an even better Big Sister.”
“All I've tried to do was be the best Big Sister to Jordain by encouraging her to push beyond her comfort zone, experience new things and become more confident,” Losier said. “I couldn't do it without her willingness and friendship.”
“We nominated Alyssa for this award because of her passion and sincerity toward our mission, and more importantly, her Little, Jordain,” Josette Rider, chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, said in the news release.
“She always takes into consideration Jordain's best interest when choosing activities and utilizes her visibility in the community to expose her to things that have a direct impact on overcoming her personal challenges.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana serves children in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Wells and Whitley counties in Indiana and Branch, Hillsdale and St. Joseph counties in Michigan. For more information, go to www.bbbsnei.org.