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GI teen receives MENTOR Nebraska’s Young Leader of the Year award

Zach Brisnehan, from Grand Island, received MENTOR Nebraska's 2021 Young Leader of the Year...
Zach Brisnehan, from Grand Island, received MENTOR Nebraska's 2021 Young Leader of the Year Award on Thursday.(MENTOR Nebraska)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 3:25 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - A Grand Island Senior High senior was awarded MENTOR Nebraska’s 2021 Young Leader of the Year Award.

Zach Brisnehan was honored during a live online ceremony on Thursday. The award is given to a young person (8-21 years old) who is involved in a mentoring program and has demonstrated service to their community and great leadership potential.

On receiving the award, Zach shared, “It’s an honor to be recognized for doing something that is so much fun. When I first started with BBBS, I was so nervous about being a good mentor, but then I realized that so much of it is just showing up each week and being there for my Little Brother. I hope that a lot more high schoolers take the chance on becoming a Big because the time commitment isn’t a lot, but the payoff for the Little and the Big is huge. I’m going to miss my Little so much next year.”

Zach and his Little, EJ, have been matched in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Nebraska’s School Based Program since October 2019.

Throughout the pandemic, Zach exceeded expectations and remained a consistent friend in EJ’s life. For EJ, being at home meant his time with Zach was even more precious. Zach sent letters via mail and called EJ. Once they began meeting again in the fall of 2020 via Zoom, Zach modeled appropriate behavior by wearing his mask. They have played many games and done activities eliciting pure joy for both Zach and his Little Brother.

Zach has also helped in recruiting other mentors at his high school. He has reached out to friends, recorded videos, and been willing to speak on behalf of BBBS. He has been a true gift both to EJ and the organization.

Zach’s commitment to supporting others in his community does not end with serving as a Big for BBBS. He has also become an informal mentor for a middle school student, supporting his parents by helping with transportation. Their regular interactions every week have led to a positive relationship. The student feels so connected to Zach, he made sure he was able to attend one of his performances at GISH.

Zach has true joys in his life. Singing, performing, and music demonstrate his creativity and passion. Even more so, his love of sports. Zach has found a love that utilizes his organizational, social awareness, conversation, and academic skills to contribute to the success of sports programs. He has a vision for his future and has worked hard to open doors and walk through them.

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