Real Life Stories

Two’s Company

Selina & Corrine develop a model relationship.

Selina and her Big Sister Corinne grew up as only children, but when they found each other, they became sisters.

Regina became a single, first-time mother at a later age, and with several physical disabilities, she found herself overwhelmed trying to keep up with Selina. Knowing she needed assistance and looking out for Selina’s best interest, Regina called Big Brothers Big Sisters after seeing a television commercial.

Big Brothers Big Sisters match specialist Amy worked closely with Selina and Regina to find the perfect match. Selina was soon paired with Corinne, a member of the Coast Guard living on Staten Island. In late 2008, the mother and daughter met Corinne at the Big Brothers Big Sisters offices. “I was certainly nervous,” remembers Regina. “It’s tough when you’re meeting someone new, and basically all you know is their name.” Corinne and Selina asked each other questions—what are your interests? What’s your job? What’s your favorite school subject? Two peas in a pod, Corinne and Selina both love to sing and swim, and both are pet-lovers. Thanks to her friendly, straightforward personality, Corinne hit it off quickly with Selina.

“Being in the Coast Guard, Corinne is very tough,” says Regina, “and she wants Selina to succeed in life. She’s definitely there for her.”

Because most of the Serrano family members live out-of-state, Corinne even attended Selina’s junior high graduation, sitting with Regina and cheering on Selina as she accepted her diploma. ”She was very supportive,” remembers Regina. Selina adds, “I wanted to bring someone that would want to come, and I think Corinne was very excited that I asked her.”

Although Selina is only in ninth grade, Regina has high hopes for her daughter. “She maintains an 85 to 90 average in school. I want her to go to college. I did poorly in college, but Selina is very smart.”

Selina and Corinne are creating memories that will last a lifetime. They’ve been to a cooking class hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters. They’ve visited Great Adventure theme park, where Selina left with an armful of stuffed animals. They’ve taken pottery classes, where they created and painted artwork. Above all, Selina’s favorite part of outings with her Big Sister is getting to spend quality time talking to each other.

Corinne quickly recognized that Selina has a special gift—not only is Selina a fashionista, but she also very beautiful—so Corinne has begun to nurture her Little Sister’s interest in modeling. Recently, a friend of Corinne took some test shots of Selina to get her started. “Corinne is trying to get Selina involved. She wants to help her take it to another level to maybe become a model,” says Regina. “Corinne is pushing Selina—she’s a real motivator.” More recently, the pair was asked to participate in a photo shoot for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Selina says, “It was great because I was able to see what it was like behind the camera. Without Corinne, I wouldn’t be as interested in modeling. She’s really made me feel good about myself and given me confidence.”

Selina continues: “Corinne seems like she knows that inside of me there are great expectations. She sees my potential. I’d like to do something good in the future. My Big Sister encourages me to do good things and push me to do better with the opportunities in my life, and that makes me feel good.”

Because Selina is an only child, for her to have a Big Sister, it’s like her having a real sister. Regina explains. “Corinne has brought a lot of joy to her life. Selina having someone to talk to that is older has made a big difference for her and for me. It’s not so overwhelming being a single parent anymore. She has someone who has come into her life and been a positive role model to stay in her life for the long-run.”

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