Laguna resident recognized as 2020 Orange County Big of the Year finalist

Catherine Helshoj of Laguna Beach has been recognized as an Orange County 2020 Big of the Year finalist for the local nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. The Big of the Year winners will be announced January 28 at the Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer information event, Big Night, in Irvine. All are invited to attend this free and special event. 

During this National Mentoring Month, five Big Brothers and five Big Sisters from across OC are among the top mentors honored this year. The exceptional finalists are recognized for having a significant impact in the lives of their Littles and going above and beyond as an advocate for the organization’s mission. 

Laguna resident Catherine Helshoj

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Catherine Helshoj has been recognized for her significant impact as a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County program

Big Brothers Big Sisters matches youth facing adversity (Littles) one-to-one with a caring and enduring mentor (Bigs). With a mentor on their side, youth are more empowered to achieve milestones such as high school graduation, set postsecondary goals, and strive for long-term success as they achieve their full potential. 

Big Brother of the Year finalists include: Kyle Cormier of Costa Mesa, Koenraad Lecot of Costa Mesa, Jacob Mize of Fullerton, Ricardo Rivas of Santa Ana, and John Viscounty of Santa Ana

Big Sister of the Year finalists include: Catherine Helshoj of Laguna Beach, Valisa Carney of Redlands, Bonny Chou of Long Beach, Jasmine Johnson of Fullerton, and Marilyn Stemper of Corona del Mar.

This year’s finalists have demonstrated significant impact in the lives of their Littles, evidenced by each child’s academic, behavioral, and social-emotional progress. Finalists have demonstrated a passion for the organization’s mission and have been champions for Big Brothers Big Sisters through recruitment efforts and advocacy of mentorship in the community. 

“Our Big of the Year finalists are a testament to the impact that mentorship can have on underserved youth,” said Sloane Keane, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire. “Mentors like these 10 individuals help empower youth and ignite their inherent potential so they can navigate difficult situations and thrive. This National Mentoring Month, we are so proud to honor our finalists and thank our thousands of volunteers who go above and beyond in their commitment to creating positive change.” 

RSVPs for the event are requested here, as the organization is expecting a packed event. 

To learn more about the organization and how to get involved, visit or