Black History Spotlight: Big Ra’Von & Little Messiah

“When I look back on who made a difference in my life and motivated me over the years, I don’t know where I would be without my Big Brother,” Ra’Von reflects, “as well as sports heroes like Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Jesse Owens who broke down barriers and gave us hope for a promising future.”

Big Ra’Von and Little Messiah were initially matched in 2020 at the height of the global pandemic. After waiting six years for a mentor, Little Messiah was undoubtedly nervous when he met his Big for the first time. Ra’Von, a police officer for the City of Bethlehem, felt an instant connection to Messiah at their first meeting, “He’s like a mini me! We have a lot in common and relate to one another because we didn’t have a relationship with our fathers.” says Ra’Von, who was also a Little Brother in the BBBSLV program thanks to your support.

It’s been difficult to find a variety of activities to do together due to COVID but, they seem to have found common ground on one thing: Food! They enjoy going to different eateries across Lehigh Valley together on the weekends where they talk about everything from video games to their favorite fantasy sports’ teams. Over time, Messiah has grown more comfortable talking to Ra’Von, “He teaches me how to be respectful and make good choices.” says Little Messiah.

In the aftermath of tragic incidents of racial profiling and violence resulting from police actions, Ra’Von has been a stable and consistent voice in Messiah’s life. Little Messiah wanted a BB gun toy for Christmas and Ra’Von advised him against it and explained to him the importance of personal safety and violence prevention. “It is important that Messiah understands that having a weapon of any kind in his possession can be dangerous and puts him in a position to have a run in with law enforcement. Considering recent events that impact young men of color, it is my responsibility to set an example for him and guide him in making decisions that will keep him safe and on the right path.”

“Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream inspires me the most, says Little Messiah, he is the true champion of equality.”

Learn more about Mentoring Youth of Color, here: Resources for Mentors Around Race, Inclusion, & Cultural Respect – MENTOR (

Join the Village, Become A Big, today: Becoming a Big – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley (