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Boston man named Massachusetts’s Big Brother of the Year

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  March 27, 2013 12:52 PM

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(Photo courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay)

Ryan O'Donnell, far right, and his "little brother" Isaiah pose for a photograph with Shaquille O'Neal's mother, Lucille O'Neal, and others.

A South End resident has been named this year’s Massachusetts’s Big Brother of the Year and will be considered for the title of National Big Brother of the Year.

Ryan O’Donnell was tapped by a panel of judges from across the state based on his dedication and service to his “little brother” and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay agency. Honorees must also be actively helping their little brothers set goals for their future, show increased confidence and improve relationships with family and peers.

“We are extremely proud of Ryan and couldn’t be happier for him,” Nora Leary, vice president of program services for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay. “The impact he has had on the life of his Little Isaiah and his unparalleled support to our community are remarkable.”

O’Donnell and “little brother” Isaiah, who lives in Jamaica Plain, were paired in 2009.

Isaiah wrote a letter in support of O’Donnell’s nomination, writing: “My friendship with Ryan is important because I have a person I can rely on, and someone who I can spend one on one time with. He is someone who cares about me, and someone who can help me when I need somebody to be there for me.”

If O’Donnell is chosen by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as the national winner, he and Isaiah will visit the White House to meet President Obama and travel to Colorado in June to be honored at the national conference.

E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.

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