Little Sister Alexis and Big Sister Sheila’s match began with a hurdle. When it was time to meet her Little Sister for the first time, Sheila couldn’t make it–she was trapped inside her house. “I had a 5 to 7 foot drift of snow in my driveway, and no way to get out, and no way to contact Alexis’ mother,” Sheila says. The two didn’t let the hurdle stop them, though. They were able to meet soon after that, and began going to the movies, learning to sew, and reading books to each other at the library. While the match would go on to face more hurdles, each brought them closer and made their match stronger.
Each match between a Big and a Little is special. Each has its first match meeting, its own obstacles to overcome, and ultimately its own outcomes in the lives changed. Each match has its own story, some of which you will read here. Our match stories are called “Big Impacts” because they celebrate not just the impact of the Big on the Little, but also the impact of the match on the families, the impact of the Little on the Big, and the impact of the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency that supported everyone along the way.
Little Brother Arual was at a crossroads. He had big dreams about playing sports and earning scholarships, but he was also tempted to give in to peer pressure from the wrong crowd. His mom was determined to find something to pull him onto the path towards a brighter future. “I was so worried that he might get more involved with these kids, that I had trouble staying calm about it,” she says. She enrolled him as a Little through Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Opispo County, and he was matched with Big Brother Jacob. With Jacob’s help, Arual was able to get onto that path towards a brighter future.
Little Sister’s Mackenzie’s first meeting with Big Sister Paula fell on Mackenzie’s birthday, which was just the first example of how the match would witness each other’s big life moments. Paula was there for Mackenzie’s graduations from middle school and high school. Mackenzie was there for Paula’s wedding and was excited to meet Paula’s first baby. These big moments have made unforgettable memories for the match, but it may have been the little moments that had the most impact.
Big Brother Cynric made mistakes growing up and felt like they were keeping him from being the right guy to be a mentor. Eventually, he realized that his mistakes might make him an even better mentor. “It was those mistakes that pushed me to sign up,” he says. He enrolled as a Big was soon the perfect match for Little Brother Kameron.
For years, Big Sister Diane worked as the owner/operator of a hair salon and heard from clients about their experiences of being a Big. Three years ago, she decided to become a Big Sister herself. She was soon matched with Little Sister Jaelynn. Over the years, the two have cooked endless truffles, learned to ice skate, and so much more. Now, Diane is helping Jaelynn save money for college by helping her at the same hair salon that first led Diane to become a Big.
Consistency is key to any match being successful. “So many ‘Littles’ have dealt with so much disappointment in their lives and need someone that is truly dependable, keeps their word, and follows through on their promises,” Big Brother Steve says. Steve has been all of that and more to his Little Brother, Cesar. Nearly every Saturday morning for the last nine years, Big Brother Steve has been consistent with his Little Brother Cesar, beginning each of their outings with a knock on his door.
Big Sister Keri and Little Sister Kiana have found that they both enjoy giving back to the community. They have gardened at a food pantry’s farm, baked cookies for the homeless, and visited with nursing home residents. “Keri and Kiana participate in volunteer activities throughout Lubbock, and they have inspired the rest of our family to give back,” Kiana’s mom says. The match has lasted more than a decade and grown into something special, and it all started with a simple trip to McDonald’s.
Little Brother Jaylen was getting in trouble at school, his grades were low, and his mother was struggling trying to raise him and his two siblings. “I was single and wasn’t working. His father was not around,” she says. “There is a lot of crime, and children weren’t graduating. I wanted more for my children.” Hoping for some relief, she enrolled both of her sons as Little Brothers through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, and Jaylen was matched with Big Brother Michael. Jaylen’s mom didn’t know at the time, but she was getting more than a Big for Jaylen. She got a Big for practically her whole family.
One of Little Sister Hannah’s dreams is to be a professional performer, and last night she sang “God Bless America” at Boston’s Fenway Park. But her bigger dream is to use her career to fund a foundation to help children like her – children who have cancer. “Kids who have cancer, it’s really tough for them and their families,” Hannah says. “I want to help them, financially and emotionally, and make the experience better, and fund research.” Hannah has spent most of her childhood in the hospital, but her dreams, talent, and positive attitude makes cancer only a small part of her story.
Myrone got into trouble a lot when he was growing up, but he says there was always somebody there for him. A football coach. A basketball coach. An uncle. Someone who talked to him and shifted his course. With their positive influence, he stayed focus in school and eventually became a patrol officer and then a school resource officer. Now, he’s a sergeant. He knew he wanted to have that same influence on kids like him, so he studied social work in college. And now his list of titles includes “Big Brother.”