Awards and Appreciation, Beyond the Badge, Community Involvement

Sergeant Melendez named Big Sister of the Year

Big Sister volunteer Sergeant Melendez wears uniform laughs with smiling little girl.
Sgt. Vanessa Melendez spends time with A'Vonti. (Photo taken in 2019, pre-COVID.)

CDCR Sgt. Vanessa Melendez, who volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, has been honored as the Big Sister of the Year.

Three years ago, Sgt. Melendez was matched as a Big Sister with A’Vonti as part of the Bigs with Badges program. (See our 2019 story on the program and her involvement.)

“They are a huge inspiration for our other matches with their creativity. Before COVID, they were helping promote the Bigs with Badges program by engaging other officers and encouraging them to become Bigs. Since (the pandemic), they had to get even more creative with their outings,” according to the organization. “Not only are they always having a blast together, they have the kindest hearts, and love giving back to the community.”

Their outings now focus on socially distant activities with plenty of fresh air.

Melendez started her CDCR career in 2013 as a cadet at the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center. She has since promoted from correctional officer to sergeant. (See Inside CDCR’s update on her career.)

Learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters at their website.