Brett Hoge

Mentoring Excellence Award

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Winston-Salem

BB&T Scott & Stringfellow

BB&T Securities

When Brett and Wendy Hoge were newlyweds, they started their family in an unusual way — they signed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Winston-Salem for a “Little Brother,” as part of a “couples match.”

Mr. Hoge is senior managing director with BB&T Scott & Stringfellow in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Since welcoming their first “Little” 11 years ago, the Hoges have mentored two more boys.

“We incorporated them all into my family,” Mr. Hoge said. “When our daughters were born, the boys automatically treated them like little sisters.”

He has served Big Brothers Big Sisters as a board member and successful fund-raiser, bringing in about $115,000 since 2002.

Mr. Hoge, himself raised by a single mother, empathizes with the needs of Littles and is concerned about how they may be viewed.

“Sometimes, there’s a perception that the kids have problems,” he said. “They don’t. There’s a comprehensive screening process for Bigs and parents — police background checks, personality tests, interests, etc. And the Littles must have an actively involved parent.”

The organization’s biggest need is for professional minority mentors, as 75% of the prospective Littles are African- American and 20% are Hispanic, according to Mr. Hoge. He has seen a positive ripple effect. “My two older boys are planning to mentor middle-school boys themselves,” he said.