Celebrating in a “BIG” way


By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor

Celebrating in a “BIG” way
Karen Boehnke, a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass./Metrowest board of directors, stands with Garry Weiner, the board's president at the "Taste of Something BIG" fundraiser on May 23.

Westborough – For 49 years, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass./Metrowest (BBBS) has helped thousands of boys and girls find a mentor to help them navigate through the challenges of life. On Wednesday evening, May 23, over 200 supporters of the organization came together to celebrate at the sixth annual “A Taste of Something BIG.”

The event, which is the organization's main fundraiser, was held at Acacia at Indian Meadows Country Club. During the evening, attendees were invited to sample food from area restaurants as well as wine that was poured courtesy of Rodney Strong Vineyards. Dozens of items were available for guests to bid on during a silent auction. Popular WCVB-TV personality Susan Wornick served once again as emcee for a live auction.

But the real highlight of the evening was a program that featured not only remarks from BBBS officials but from several moving comments from several “Bigs” and “Littles” in attendance, as well.

Garry Weiner is the president of the BBBS Central Mass./Metrowest chapter board of directors.

“This is one of our signature events. It's a great way to thank our supporters as well as tell new people about BBBS,” he said.

“14,031 kids, from 40 communities were served in 2011,” he noted. ?”That's a credit to the staff and volunteers.”

Weiner also paid tribute to Ben Ticho, who is stepping down after 38 years – 34 of those as executive director – with the organization.

“Whoever takes over will have big shoes to fill,” Weiner said.

Victoria Aramini has been a Big Sister for just over a year to seven-year old Chyanne.

“It's a two- way street – we support each other,” she said. “That's the beauty of this program. It's an opportunity to help each other.”

Byron Deane, who has been a Big Brother for Nino for over nine years now, said their relationship “just gets better each year.”

“I love him like my own son. He is truly one of “the family” now,” Deane said.

Nino said that he felt Deane's steadying influence had almost certainly kept him from making unsafe or dangerous decisions growing up.

“I most likely wouldn's have bettered myself as a person if I didn's have Byron as a big brother,” he said. “I didn's have anyone to connect with until I met him. He believes in me. He's like a blood brother to me.”

Wornick noted that she is always happy to serve once again as emcee for the live auction.

“It's awesome. This group is phenomenal,” she said. “They are the perfect example of what it means to give back.”

Weiner told the audience that there will not be a “Taste of Something BIG” next year. Instead, the organization will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a gala to be held Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.

Featured restaurants included:? Acacia at Indian Meadows of Westborough; Eller's Restaurant of Cherry Valley; Lakeside Bar & Grill of Shrewsbury; The Melting Pot of Framingham; Sahara Café, Restaurant & Spirits of Worcester; Sel de la Terre of Natick; Thai Island of Holden; Tomasso Trattoria of Southborough; and The Twisted Fork of Cherry Valley.

Major sponsors for the event included: The TJX Companies, Bob's Discount Furniture, Akibia and Waters Corporation.

Celebrating in a “BIG” way
"Players to be named later..." entertained guests during the tasting portion of the evening.
Celebrating in a “BIG” way
Guests check out some of the many items in the silent auction.
Celebrating in a “BIG” way
Susan Wornick was once again emcee for the live auction portion of the fundraiser.
Celebrating in a “BIG” way
Jay Powell and Nancy O'Neil, from the Twisted Fork of Cherry Valley, pause for a moment from serving guests during the tasting portion of the event.