Posted by: allisonbarnes | February 11, 2011

Being a Big Buddy

Sam Ellis created an event that invited Littles to Kenan where they got to hang out with UNC Football student-athletes.

Everyone needs a buddy, and having one who is 6′ 4″, 285 pounds is definitely someone you would want on your side.  UNC Football senior Sam Ellis knows what it means to have someone older to look up to. Ellis has been apart of Campus Y’s Big Buddy since he was in second grade.

“I had the opportunity of having a Big Buddy when I was little and I thought that it made a big difference in my life,” said Ellis. “Once I got to UNC, I relished my status as a college student and varsity athlete as a chance to give back to the Big Buddy program.”

Big Buddy is one of 21 committees at UNC’s Campus Y and is associated with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.  Big Buddy pairs local kids in the Chapel Hill area with UNC students.  Kids who participate in the program tend to be “at risk” and can benefit from a mentor relationship.

Ellis became a Big his sophomore year at UNC and now resumes the role of co-chair. For the past three years, he has had the same Little who currently attends his alma mater, Carrboro Elementary School. The two also share a passion in sports.

Kids from Big Buddy check out the UNC Football team's locker room.

“We like to go to UNC baseball games in the spring and basketball games together. We like to throw the football and play basketball together as well,” said Ellis.

When the duo aren’t revolving their activities around sports, they will go out to eat or play video games. But one of the valuable lessons that Ellis has taught his Little is the importance of serving the community.  In the beginning of January, the pair went to the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill and served meals to families who are staying at the House.

In the Fall Ellis created an event that brought about 20 area youth to Kenan Stadium. The kids toured the UNC Football center, tried on the team’s pads and helmets, and competed in relay races.  The event concluded with Coach Davis giving a speech to the group and then the team signing footballs.

The event was successful in not only creating a spark for the love of football,  but it created a spark for future Big Buddies. Several members of the UNC Football team decided to become a Big Buddy, all thanks to Ellis’s introducing them to the program.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Allison Barnes, Allison Barnes. Allison Barnes said: Being a Big Buddy […]

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