Emily met Rebecca met when she was in her first year at Niagara College, in 2008. Rebecca had been on the wait list for quite some time, because of a listed allergy to pet dander. Emily didn’t have any pets so once she completed her application, she was matched up with her immediately.
“Rebecca and I were a great match from the start. She was very quiet, but over time, we developed a great friendship and mutually enjoyed our time together. By the end, I was happy to be able to have frank conversations with her about each other. While it was a mentorship relationship, it was also important to me to show Rebecca the importance of being a good friend, as well.” says Emily.
“We did all kinds of stuff together. We were both active and up for anything, but also we are realistic with timeliness and the busyness of our lives. Meeting up every week ranged from simply coming over for dinner and hanging out for a bit, to going biking, rollerblading, bowling, swimming and more. Though Rebecca was tentative, she was also a great sport, and was willing to try anything, after her mother or I could coax her into it :)” continues Emily.
Their memories together are fond.
“I appreciated how great my family was with Rebecca, and how they were able to build a relationship with her as well. I remember having her over for dinner at my parents which was fun. I remember her climbing a tree in my parent’s backyard and not realizing how quickly she could climb. Next thing I knew, we were calmly trying to tell her to make her way down the tree.”
Rebecca believes mentorship matters because it provides another role model for children.
“Some kids need that, not necessarily because they are in a bad situation in their family, but because they don’t naturally find themselves in a broad community. Mentoring, specifically with Big Brothers Big Sisters expands a child’s world, giving them exposure to more people, different perspectives and different opportunities that they might not have otherwise. It enhances a child’s perspective to hear from others and have positive role models to consider when developing their character, personality and life choices.”
“Volunteering is important for the exact same reasons. It expands your exposure and broadens horizons. That is why I have always loved volunteering. It allows you to connect with people you would not have otherwise. This was one of the ways I did that and was very glad I did. It is a powerful program with great results. I was honoured to be a part of Rebecca’s life for those few years and invited into their family. I will never forget that.”