Volunteer named 2014 Tennessee Big Sister of the Year

From (l): Big Sister Janet Carmichael and Little Sister Diamond, 2014.

From (l): Big Sister Janet Carmichael and Little Sister Diamond, 2014.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee has announced volunteer Janet Carmichael as its ‘Big Sister of the Year’ among female volunteers serving with the regional organization. Additionally, she was selected as the Tennessee Big Sister of the Year by the Tennessee Big Brothers Big Sisters Alliance.

Carmichael has served as a volunteer mentor to her Little Sister, Diamond, since 2009. Having been matched for almost six years, Janet and Diamond’s friendship has grown to be one of love, trust and respect. While the friendship has not always been easy, Janet has consistently been there for Diamond. She has helped Diamond face and overcome a number of challenges, one of the greatest being her placement into the custody of the Department of Children’s Services (DCS). Understandably, this was an extremely difficult time for Diamond and her family. Throughout, Carmichael worked alongside Diamond’s grandmother and DCS by supporting Diamond and advocating for her needs and best interest.

Diamond has returned home and she and Carmichael are back to spending time doing things they enjoy, e.g., talking over dinner, spending time in the community and planning for Diamond’s future. Diamond will graduate this spring and will be the first in her family to receive a high school diploma.

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentoring relationships exist to change the lives of the youth served for the better, forever. Through life changes, challenges and celebrations, Janet has been, and will be, there.

“I struggle with ideas to be a great mentor. I don’t have to be super smart or creative here. Just be there. Just show up. Just be caring,” said Big Sister of the Year Janet Carmichael.
The volunteer commitment and support Janet provides Diamond every day is exceptional. The challenges these two faced together are extraordinary, and certainly worthy of this acknowledgement. However, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves children of all backgrounds and in multiple family situations.

Those interested in becoming a volunteer mentor are given the opportunity to thoroughly discuss what situations they are comfortable handling within the realm of their relationship during the application process. There is additional training for incoming mentors, as well as ongoing professional support from trained social workers dedicated to each relationship.

Big Brothers Big Sisters improves children’s chances for succeeding in school, behaving nonviolently, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and breaking negative cycles. Providing services to all of Middle Tennessee, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee served 1,513 children in 2014. The average annual cost per match is $1,500.

The Tennessee Big Brothers Big Sisters Alliance is a collaboration between Big Brothers Big Sisters chapters in Nashville, Clarksville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Memphis all seeking to work together in administering large scale programs providing children facing adversity with a mentor. Honorees for Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year are submitted by the respective state associations for consideration of the national association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

The Tennessee Big Brother of the Year is Christopher Coyle, from Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit or call 6150-329-9191.