Big Sister Jessica and Little Sister Alejandra
One afternoon over burgers, Little Sister Alejandra shared with her Big Sister Jessica a story that changed their relationship and their entire lives. Jessica remembers her heart breaking as Alejandra revealed to her that she was experiencing a situation at home that no child should ever have to endure.
As a volunteer, Jessica was taught what to do if a child came to her with a major challenge, but she remembers mostly feeling scared for her Little Sister and angry that she was experiencing something terrible.
“It still feels surreal, six years later, but I went into autopilot in contacting Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Jessica says. “With the help of my match support specialist, steps were taken to ensure Ale’s safety.”
Alejandra is in a safe place now, partly because she was able to open up to a trusted adult, her Big Sister. Building that trust took Big Sister Jessica’s time and dedication.
“She’s super smart, kind and loving, but what I love most is that she uses strength to make me feel safe,” Alejandra says.
“Though we have become incredibly close over the last seven years, her ambition and kindheartedness never fail to surprise me as she continues to mature.”
– Big Sister Jessica
Jessica built that sense of security simply by interacting with Alejandra and offering a listening ear when she needed one. They pored over children’s books at Barnes & Noble, danced and sang in the car to their favorite songs, and gave each other nicknames. Jessica began calling Alejandra “Chickadee” for how fiercely protective she was of her.
When Alejandra disclosed what she was experiencing, Jessica knew she needed her Big Sister more than ever.
“Through it all, Ale and I talked often: sometimes about what happened, and sometimes about nothing at all,” Jessica says. “I knew that as a young girl, this could impact the rest of Ale’s life and I was determined to help her turn this situation into a positive.”
In the years since, Alejandra has had many positives. She’s now an AP and Honors student in high school with a 4.0 GPA. She spends time volunteering and was recently elected captain of her school’s color guard. Jessica has been there to offer leadership advice, encourage her to ask questions to her teachers, and remind her that she is a survivor.
“Knowing she has always been there for me no matter which way life turns has given me more confidence to try new experiences,” Alejandra says. “I push myself because I see what she has accomplished and know that no matter what happens, Jessica will make me feel worthy and loved.”
By not letting her situation define her and continuing to push herself to do more, Alejandra has proven how strong she is, Jessica says.
“This past fall, Ale became a High School Big through Big Brothers Big Sisters to mentor a child at a local elementary school,” Jessica says. “Though I have never believed in pushing Ale into a single definition of success, I was touched that she chose to follow in my footsteps.”
The following in footsteps may continue, as Alejandra plans to graduate high school and go to college, where she will study to become a family therapist or a social worker, so she can help people in need, just as her Big Sister did for her.