Our matches transform the lives of our Bigs and Littles every day.
Elaina, a young professional, and Annie, who is entering high school next year, have been matched for 8 months. Annie lives with her dad and wanted a Big Sister so she would have time with a female role model each week. Elaina and Annie both have a wide variety of interests and hobbies that they are sharing with one another. They have worked on Elaina’s car together, gone thrift-shopping for Annie’s shows and concerts, and love just hanging out and goofing around. Elaina says she considers Annie to be her sister—anything she would do for a sister, she does for Annie. Last week they went on a hike and mucked around in a stream in the beautiful weather. They often bake treats for Annie’s family and friends, and of course take lots of goofy pictures and selfies!
A new journey has begun for a recent match. Barbara, recently retired from her Physician Assistant position was matched with seven-year-old Maura, who recently arrived from Central America. Maura told her case manager, “I want to learn more English words and more about my new culture.” Barbara wanted to continue learning Spanish, which she used during her career. Barbara and Maura have been matched for about 1 month and already they have so many things in common. First was language, both wanted to learn from each other. Earlier in the month they started gardening together. Now Maura has her very own vegetables growing in Barbara’s garden that she can share with her family.
Alan and Derrick celebrated their one-year anniversary in March where they had the opportunity to share some of their thoughts about their friendship. Derrick,who is 9-years-old, said that Alan has been a great match because he is, “a good person, really fun to be around, and a really great friend.” Alan has also enjoyed his weekly visits with Derrick, including playing basketball at Amherst College where he works, hiking the Notch, and receiving diving lessons from his Little Brother Derrick.
One of our most creative Big Sisters has been treating her Little to a variety of made-up games and activities since they were matched in September. Kathy loves tapping into her Little Sister’s imagination and energy when they’re together. Kim, who is 9-years-old, has enjoyed making fashion collages with recycled magazines, going on an elaborate scavenger hunt through downtown Northampton, and making matching Halloween costumes for the Bowl-a-thon. Kathy loves the break from her work week to do the same things she did when she was a child.
One of our UMass Kids-to-Campus matches, Nate and Kenny, were matched in Fall 2011. Nate, who is an engineering student, had very little kid experience when he first met Kenny, a 2nd grader with a knack for trouble. Three years later, they have transitioned to being a community match and other pairs look to Nate and Kenny as role models. Nate says that becoming involved in the program was among the best things he’s ever done and that his time with Kenny is a wonderful way to de-stress. Kenny’s mom and school staff members tell us that he has developed into a caring, confident, and competent young man—and one who also gets good grades!