This month we honor Big Sister Kim for her dedication to BBBS and to her Little Sister Ella!
Kim and Ella’s friendship has been thriving for almost 5 years! The close friendship and bond they have formed will continue on even after Ella graduates high school and their match is no longer monitored by BBBS. Ella has been accepted into Stockton University and will move there this month. We asked Ella what she would like to thank her Big Sister for and she said, “To begin, when I first met her I didn’t know how it was going to go. A year later I thought, ‘this is going well’. Now I can’t see how I would have done the things I’ve done without Miss Kim.” When asked what she thought about the BBBS program, Ella described, “It’s a nice experience to connect with someone you would have never met and then for that person to become family.” Thanks to the foundation BBBS provided for their friendship, it seems like these two will remain a part of each other’s lives for a long, long time.
We recently caught up with Kim to ask why she became a big, how it affected her, and about her relationship with Ella.
What made you decide to become a Big?
I decided to become a Big because I’ve always wanted to emulate the treatment given to me by my three older siblings. The guidance and support they gave to me when I was growing up was so amazing that I knew I had to find a way to pay it forward.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Big?
The most rewarding part about being a Big is seeing the growth made by your Little over time; whether it’s the expansion of her food palate, her newfound love of a sport or the excitement she felt when she received her first college acceptance letter. That growth is truly exciting to see firsthand and knowing that I played a small part in it warms my heart.
What advice would you give to people who are considering becoming a mentor?
Do it! You will not regret it. It’s challenging as adults to find time for our routine daily activities, but I oftentimes use the time with my Little as an escape from the daily routine. Hanging out with her is not a chore; it’s actually lots of fun. It allows me an opportunity to relax and view life from the perspective of a young adult, even for a brief moment. The time commitment is actually very minimal (2 hours every two weeks) as well.
What is your favorite memory you have with your Little?
It’s so hard to pinpoint one favorite memory so I’ll give you two. One favorite memory was helping Ella get ready for her 8th grade prom. She was so excited when I walked in the door with one of my closest friends; it was like we were her very own “glam squad”. We dolled her up with age-appropriate makeup and jewelry and her face lit up so much that it even made me emotional. Another memory was the moment I told her that my husband and I were expecting our first child. Her first reaction was, “I can’t wait to babysit.” At that moment, I knew we had a winner. Although our match is really about her and allowing her to grow, Ella always finds a way to help me grow as well. Her selflessness has led me to believe that we serve as role models for each other.
How do you think your relationship has changed your Little’s life?
I believe our relationship had opened her eyes to several things in this world; from the limitless food choices, to the struggles of being a first-time parent, to the reality of college and entering the real world. Ella and I have had some truly in-depth conversations that I know will ring true to her forever. We’ve even talked about her becoming a Big when she gets older! Hearing her enthusiasm to join the program and be a part of a child’s life when she becomes an adult made me so proud.
How has the relationship impacted your own life?
The relationship has allowed me to not sweat the small stuff. My Little is wise beyond her years. Our conversations would oftentimes allow me to see things from another angle and put my mind at ease; this has aided in my personal growth as well. I cherish our conversations and interactions and cannot wait to hear about her adventures in college.
How has working with BBBSMMC been?
Working with the team has been great! The monthly check-ins have helped me to not only reflect on the times I have spent with my Little, but they’ve also provided me with suggestions as to what we can do for future meetups. It’s also great that the team comes up with activities for all Bigs and Littles to meet up.
What surprised you the most about being part of the program?
I was surprised to have received such a great match. I had expectations of what my Little would be like prior to meeting her, but they exceeded my expectations. My Little and I have similar backgrounds and ideals and that helps to sustain a lasting relationship. The staff at BBBSMMC do a wonderful job of matching Littles with Bigs and it shows.
Sixty children are still waiting to be matched in our program. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a Big, please visit bbbsmmc.org/inquire-now.