NEWARK, NJ – JULY 24, 2021 –  The New Jersey Devils and Devils Youth Foundation presented Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties with a $25,000 donation during Friday night’s Devils Draft Experience at Prudential Center.  In a fitting scenario, the donation coincided with the Devils selecting Luke Hughes fourth overall in the 2021 NHL Draft.  Jack Hughes, Devils’ center and the number-one overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, is Luke’s big brother.  Devils Youth Foundation hosted BBBS executives and 16 members of the BBBS program–Bigs & Littles (mentor and mentees)- for a VIP Party at the Draft Experience.  The group met with Devils legends Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias and Ken Daneyko and Head Coach Lindy Ruff who addressed the group on the importance of having mentors in the lives of youth and forming lasting, lifetime bonds with those who inspire and influence you.

“Supporting the educational and recreational programs of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties reflects the Devils Youth Foundation’s mission to empower the youth in our community,” said Foundation Chair Allison Blitzer.  “On a great night for our organization where we are able to recognize the efforts of Big Brothers Big Sisters, we also have the fun opportunity to welcome a little brother to join his big brother in our Devils family.  Congratulations to Luke, Jack and the entire Hughes family on a special night and thank you to Big Brothers Big Sisters for all the mentoring work they do.”

The donation continues DYF’s focus to support youth initiatives in the City of Newark and throughout New Jersey’s underserved communities, to inspire and empower youth, is driven by our commitment to generate positive, lasting and meaningful change in the communities where our teams live, work and play.  The $25,000 will directly support and sponsor Big Brothers Big Sisters remaining summer programming and back to school initiatives including:

  • “BBBS Back to School”- an annual tradition to help give “Littles” from the tri-county region the best foot forward as they start the year. In past years, BBBS has distributed hundreds of supplies, bags, books, at a variety of events. This year they will still distribute a significant number of supplies.
  • BBBS summer programming- supporting park and recreational activities for Bigs & Littles for the month of August.

Additionally, Big Brothers Big Sisters took part in a check presentation live in front of Devils Black & Red Season Ticket Members as part of the evening’s programming for the Devils Draft Experience.  New Jersey Devils President Jake Reynolds represented the team while Viviana Baeza, Director of Partnerships, Kashonda Barnes, Match Support Manager, and Natalia Sardo, Chief of Staff represented BBBSEHU (BBBS Check Presentation picture attached).

Devils Youth Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting and championing youth and diversity in hockey, music, education and sport throughout New Jersey. With the goal of inspiring youth through the power of sports and entertainment, the foundation seeks to raise awareness and funds to positively impact programs covering meal assistance, health and wellness, educational support, music resources and diversity and inclusion.  DYF includes Devils and Prudential Center’s fundraising initiatives, signature events, long-standing grassroots campaigns and more, while reinforcing HBSE’s commitment to champion diversity and inclusion.  Signature fundraising events include Devils Sweep the Deck Gala, Martin Brodeur’s “MB30” Charity Golf Invitational, “Annual Gift of Giving” and “On the Line Auction.”  Additionally, the Devils Youth Foundation will raise funds for the organizations and initiatives it supports via Devils home game 50/50 Raffles, on-going and seasonal online auctions including autographed jerseys, helmets and one-of-a-kind experiences, branded merchandise and apparel sales and more.

In the past year, the Devils and DYF have provided over $350,000 in philanthropic and programmatic support to dozens of nonprofit organizations including Newark Working Kitchens, Boys & Girls Club of Newark, the Urban League of Essex County, Hockey in New Jersey, Jazz House Kids, Special Olympics New Jersey, The American Red Cross, the Cancer Infusion Center at Clara Maass Medical Center, Garden State Equality and The Salvation Army.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties, NJ (BBBSEHU) creates and professionally supports one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth, and is a credible social justice organization embedded in our community. Founded in 2008, the local affiliate is a nationally recognized leader for its public-private partnerships and its delivery of a culturally responsive continuum of services rooted in each youth’s (Little’s) one-to-one mentoring relationship (match) with an adult volunteer (Big).  Local agency youth achieve an average high school graduation rate of 98%, 20 percentage points higher than the communities it serves.  An affiliate of the national organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties has served over 4,200 youth since its inception in 2008.

Research shows that youth mentored through BBBS are more likely to: earn a four-year degree, earn higher incomes, volunteer, and have greater life satisfaction.  Yet, one in three children grow up without a mentor. BBBSEHU needs committed adults – men and women – to volunteer to mentor a child.  It takes just four hours per month for at least one year.  Each match is assigned a dedicated case manager to coach and support the development of the mentoring relationship and the child.  Bigs also have access to training and networking opportunities. And it’s fun!