Many of you know this, but for the past 6 years I’ve had the honor of being Estelle’s “Big Sister” in the Big Brother, Big Sister program. We have grown incredibly close over the years, so much so that she was one of my personal attendants for the wedding last weekend. When I signed up right out of college, I thought it would be a great way to give back and mentor someone. Little did I know how much I would be impacted. In fact, I’m proud to say that I’ve known Estelle even longer than her adoptive mom has! How’s that for history! One of the best moments I remember witnessing was when Mary officially adopted Estelle. It was such a blessing to be a part of such a milestone in her life.
Estelle and I closed our formal program relationship last month due to my leaving the country, but we will continue to stay in touch for years to come. I already purchased her a webcam for communicating and we’re discussing when she can come over to visit me. For those of you looking for an impactful volunteer experience, look no farther. The time commitment is 5-10 hours a month (1 or 2 outings) with occasional emails or phone calls in between. Couples can also sponsor a “little”. It was one of the best risks I ever took and I challenge you to consider it for yourself. Last time I heard, there were over 500 kids waiting for a “Big”. Males are especially needed to mentor boys. For more information, CLICK ON THIS LINK!
In celebration of the long-term success of our match, we were selected to be featured as this month’s spotlight. Here’s the write-up:
The May Big Spotlight features Big Sister Sarah Miller and her Little Sister, Estelle. Sarah and Estelle celebrated their 6 year anniversary in April.
As Sarah and Estelle have been matched for so long, one can imagine that they have done quite a variety of activities including an outing to a local apple orchard to pick fruit for a pie that they made together, an evening at the “World’s Toughest Rodeo,” days at Valley Fair, and many trips to the theater. Both also look forward to their annual trip to the cabin where they join Sarah’s family for a weekend of fun and relaxation.
Sarah stresses that the key to making their relationship work over all these years has been flexibility. She said that she has tried not to get attached to the idea of making the match look one way and as a result, their match has grown over the years to accommodate the changes that have happened in both Estelle and Sarah’s lives. At times, the match got together weekly for fun activities. However, there were also times where they talked on the phone more than they met in person. Regardless, the foundation this match has built will undoubtedly be strong enough to weather the next change in their relationship: Sarah is moving to the Philippines! The match already has plans for regular e-mails and Skype chats and have even made arrangements for Estelle to visit Sarah in the future. In the meantime, Estelle will be the personal attendant at Sarah’s upcoming wedding!
Sarah has been a fantastic Big since day one. She has been there for Estelle through every up and every down. To this point, Estelle’s Mom has said, “Being a Big doesn’t cost a lot of money; it’s about maintaining contact.” She could not have said it any better. Sarah and Estelle, as your match comes to a close, it is only fitting to celebrate all of your successes together! We wish you a lifetime of friendship and the best of luck in all of your future endeavors!
Thank you, Sarah, for being such a supportive and enthusiastic Big Sister! And thank you to all of our committed Bigs who give their time and energy to provide positive friendships to our Littles!