ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Congratulations are in order for Isabel Delgado! The 18-year-old Anaheim grad is being recognized for her mentorship work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire.
The Western High School graduate was named High School Big of the Year.
"This award means the world to me because of the fact that it's actually helping me understand and it's showing me that I'm on the right path. I'm doing something right in life," Delgado said.
That means a lot to the Anaheim teen, who saw her family torn apart when she witnessed the deportation of her father.
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Delgado was only 8 years old at the time when she suddenly became a daughter to a single mother of three, struggling to make ends meet.
That trauma fuels Delgado's desire to make her family proud and give back to her community.
"I know I'm not the only one that's going through it or has gone through that. Being able to show that I can relate with others and be vulnerable about it and share that just allows me to create a connection with others," she said.
One person she connected with is Vivian, an elementary school student assigned as Delgado's "little sister." Week after week, the Vivian's homework and confidence improved. The two created a bond as they both grew.
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"It completely changed me," Delgado said.
Delgado's commitment, consistency and own development is ultimately why she's the High School Big of the Year.
"She has learned to be confident. She has learned to be resilient. She now possesses amazing leadership skills, and she's been an influence to other littles in the program and a positive influence to other volunteers in the program," said Laura Corona Marcum, the VP of programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County & The Inland Empire.
"We just share how we're there for each other no matter what, and we always encourage each other to take risks, make a change and being in the program has allowed me to learn that I'm doing the right thing by helping others and especially the younger generation," Delgado said.
Delgado is heading to Cal State Fullerton to pursue a degree in human services. She'll be presented with her award and scholarship at the nonprofit's drive-thru graduation.
She says one good thing about COVID-19, is that her dad gets to watch her graduation ceremonies virtually from Mexico.
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