I became a Little when I was 12 or 13, deep in the throes of pre-teen romance and middle school super-drama. I was exceptionally quirky, the weirdest of the weird.
I was nervous when I met Chrissy, my Big Sister. She came over to our house, along with a representative from Big Brothers Big Sisters and together with my mother we chatted about our similarities and interests and the basics of our lives. It was a safe place for us to meet, and it afforded us the time to see if we wanted to take each other on as Big and Little Sisters. And we did. We weren’t exactly what the other had in mind when filling out the questionnaires that would later be used to match us, but we were damn near perfect for each other. So perfect, in fact, that a photo of the two of us at a BBBS event was used in one of their brochures.
Chrissy was basically the coolest person I had ever met. She was beautiful and funny, had a tight-knit group of friends and family and I loved her from the start. She had a huge heart and was determined to change the world and was studying to be a special education teacher at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
Our partnership was fantastic, but unfortunately short-lived, as I moved away, from Ohio back to Virginia, and we eventually lost touch. She’s a bright spot in what was otherwise a pretty dark time.
I can say, without too much misty-eyed sap, that Chrissy changed my life in a lot of wonderful and incredible ways. She boosted my confidence, was a positive adult role model outside of my often dysfunctional family, sang along to Dave Matthew’s Band songs blasted over cassette player in her rumbly little car and was always up for watching Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion. She did my make-up when I graduated middle school and was always eager to hear the latest melodrama unfolding in my middle school. She helped me in ways I can never, ever explain in enough detail to show how much she really changed, and maybe even saved, my life.
And that’s why my first donation of the year goes to BBBS, because it’s an organization that directly impacted and improved my life, one that made me a better and stronger person.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters:
“For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
“Mission: provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
“National research has shown that positive relationships between Littles and their Bigs have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives. By participating in our programs, Little Brothers and Sisters are:
- more confident in their schoolwork performance
- able to get along better with their families
- 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
- 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
- 52% less likely to skip school.”
P.S. – Thanks so much for all your suggestions on what organizations to donate to this year. I’m looking forward to spreading the love around.