“Genuine”

It’s been over three years since this Big Sisters match began. This Little and her mom approached the agency as their family had been through some trying times and were wanting someone that she could have to herself. Someone that was encouraging, confident, could be an outlet and would influence increasing her self-awareness and trust. Around the same time, the Big Sister-to-be approached the agency as she had a close friend who had done the program and encouraged her to apply. In reflection, this Big also identified some family challenges growing up that impacted her significantly and had her wishing that she had someone that she felt safe to be open with. In becoming a Big Sister, she hoped that she could be in a match where there was trust, mutual caring, and where she could be a role model and even provide advice.

Little did this Big and Little know what was to come. They have enjoyed many visits that included some kind of creative arts and crafts component or baking. They also ventured out to see movies, IceDogs games, or activities outdoors – in the warmer weather, of course. Their consistent favourites have been the BBBS agency events, specifically the BBBS Halloween Parties and Christmas Parties. As the years passed by, something deeper began to develop. Not only did they share many interests, they began to occupy a special space in a part of their each other’s lives. Although they don’t see each other every week, the time they do share is simple. Now it consists of hanging out; enjoying reading, lounging at home, making crafts, and talking about their week.

Recently, the Little and her mom have reflected on the extent of impact that this match has had on their lives. It was clear that each visit is anticipated with an uncontainable excitement. If the Little said it once, she said it many times that her favourite thing about her Big is that she makes her feel like she matters by “making me happy when I’m sad.” In addition to that, of course they laugh a lot when they are together. The Little said that they have grown so close that they even “have the same reaction to things.”

Mom is at the point with this match where she can’t fully express how transformational this relationship has been for her daughter. At first, she was thrilled with how similar they were. Their affinity for crafting, and the quiet calm nature were a few of the obvious connecters. However, now it is the internal differences that mom loves and appreciates most.  When the two are together she knows that her daughter confides in her Big. Mom believes that her daughter “gets to be her authentic self” when she is with her Big. The biggest changes that have occurred in her daughter, which she attributes to the match, are that her self-awareness has increased, she has gained confidence, and there has been a major increase in her self-perception and body image.

Mom believes that her daughter has truly learned to appreciate her Big and see her as more than just a match. She is “proud to have someone invest in her.” The one word that Mom used to describe their relationship – “genuine”.

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