It’s my favorite time of year at Big Brothers Big Sisters. This week, we are pausing for a moment to celebrate the 44 Bigs and Littles who are graduating from our program in 2015. We always talk about how Big Brothers Big Sisters helps children achieve more academically, avoid risky behaviors, and develop socially and emotionally. And that’s all true. The Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program is effective at helping young people in all of these ways.
What we don’t always articulate as well is why it works. Rather than try myself, I’ll share the voices of some of our graduates because they are so much better at it:
“She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”
- Little Sister October, 2015 graduate of Arsenal Technical High School and will attend Ivy Tech
“The Big Brothers Big Sisters organization helps a person to be grounded in who they are. It has taught me to persevere, dream big, and stay positive. I
believe that I have gained a big brother and a lifelong friend. It has provided my mom with a sense of comfort and appreciation to know that there is someone who is able to spend quality time with me, and just like her, give me great guidance and direction in my life.”
- Little Brother James, graduated from Pike High School and will attend IUPUI
“My family and I have gained a better understanding of what it means to be there for someone and to have love for someone who is not a part of your immediate family. Because of my participation in Big Brothers Big Sisters, I have gained a friend, a mentor, and a sister. My Big is someone who I know I can reach out to even after high school graduation, and she will be there for me.”
- Little Sister Lamiyah, 2015 graduate of Broad Ripple Magnet High School and will attend Ball State University
“My mother and I love Annette. We feel as though we have gained an amazing friend and family member. Annette has been with me since I was in the 4th grade. She has been there for me when no one else was. She watched me grow and become who I am today. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better Big Sister. She always believed in me. She was always by my side no matter what.”
- Little Sister Rochelle, 2015 graduate of Nexus Academy of Indianapolis and will attend Indiana University
In their voices, I hear these young women and men state very clearly that it really meant something to them to have someone believe in them and simply be there for them – especially in moments when they felt like they had no one else.
Yes, they did fun things together. Yes, they explored colleges and careers. Yes, they worked on homework. Yes, they developed social skills and confidence. Yes, they sometimes got frustrated and wondered if they were making a difference.
But, behind all of that, these mentors chose to care about these children – over and over again. They kept believing in them, and they kept showing up. It’s an honor and a privilege to get to do the work that we do – to get to work with so many amazing volunteers, parents, and children everyday. And, it’s really nice to pause every once in a while and bear witness to so many lives being changed for the better, forever.