Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida Announces its 2024 Beyond School Walls Big of the Year!

Pensacola, FL — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is proud to announce Billy Merrill Eggart, Superintendent at D.R. Horton Homes, as the recipient of the 2024 Beyond School Walls Big of the Year Award. Billy’s steadfast dedication to mentorship and community engagement has significantly impacted the lives of local youth, exemplifying the spirit of service and leadership.

The Beyond School Walls program, through which Billy has been an extraordinary mentor, aims to empower students by providing invaluable guidance and support as they transition from school to the workforce or higher education. Through partnerships with corporations like D.R. Horton Homes, the program creates mentorship opportunities where students shadow volunteer employee mentors, gaining insights into various professions and developing essential skills for success.

Since November 2023, Billy has generously volunteered his time and expertise as a mentor with the Beyond School Walls program. His meaningful contribution is most apparent in his connection with his Little Brother Noah. Despite facing adversity at home, Noah has found solace and support through his bond with Billy. Living with his grandmother and walking several miles to school each day, Noah’s circumstances could have easily defined him. However, Billy’s mentorship has empowered Noah to believe in his potential and pursue his dreams with determination.

Over their mentorship journey, Billy and Noah have developed a strong bond that extends beyond the confines of the program. Six and a half months after their initial meeting, they decided to expand their relationship to meet regularly, outside of the structured program activities. Billy’s dedication to Noah’s growth and well-being is evident in the ways he has supported him. From accompanying him to job interviews to helping him get a tuxedo for prom, Billy has consistently shown up for Noah. These small, yet meaningful gestures have left a lasting impression on Noah, reaffirming his belief that someone deeply cares about his success and happiness.

Noah expressed his gratitude, stating, “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, not only have you been great to talk to, but you’ve also helped me outside of school. It’s been very beneficial having you assist me in trying to find a job and I’m grateful for you. I’m really lucky to know someone as great as you.” Noah’s grandmother also shared her appreciation for Billy’s mentorship, saying, “Thank you for the amazing person you are, for all that you do and the difference you make. You are truly appreciated.”

On behalf of the staff and Board at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, thank you, Billy, for providing your Little with the tools he needs to reach his full potential.

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