In the News

Pay it Forward to a Little Sister in Need

The bond of sisterhood through Big Brothers Big Sisters represents many things – a support system for Littles, a sense of stability in an often chaotic world, and encouragement and hope for tomorrow. Never have these principles been truer than for Big Sister Margaret Grandstaff, who mentors Little Sister Yesenia out of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties. Earlier this year, as an innocent bystander, Yesenia was a victim in a tragic residential dispute. Her life was changed instantly. She was shot in the face resulting in C3 paralysis - a permanent condition that will inhibit Yesenia from ever walking again and shatter her dreams of being on a dance team. Due to injuries sustained, Yesenia also has very limited functionality in her hands. She will now spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

Unable to go to school, Yesenia spends her days in rehab sessions and cannot feed or bathe herself. She is only just beginning her lifelong struggles. Spending time with her daughter, Yesenia's mother is unable to work. Yesenia requires around–the-clock care. Because of the gravity of the incident, Yesenia and her family had to immediately move and are now living in a domestic violence shelter with incredibly limited financial resources.

Yesenia's Big Sister Margaret has taken on the sole responsibility of fundraising and providing as many resources as she can find.

"Each one of us became a mentor to help the children who needed us most and this little girl is no exception. What was a less than desirable living situation before, has become a great hardship for Yesenia – an innocent young girl who deserves so much more. Uninsured medical costs and injury related expenses are rising each day," Margaret said

If you would like to help Yesenia, please email

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