11 Jan

Big Sister. Little Sister.

Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland is looking for more people to take part in their mentorship program in 2008. I became involved with the organization last year, and thought I’d share my experiences.

With the dedication of our wonderful volunteers, we are currently providing 315 girls with the support of a caring mentor– thank you! But for 2008, Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland is on a mission! We know that there are many more young girls who need a mentor in their lives, so we want to serve even more girls in 2008! In order to accomplish this, we need more women to volunteer with us AND more families and community workers to know about our programs so they can refer girls to us who could benefit from having a mentor.

In the spring of 2007 I was looking around for volunteer work and I decided to give Big Sisters a try. It was something I’d been considering for awhile, especially after hearing about it from a friend who’d been matched with a Big Brother (the boy version of Big Sisters) as a young boy and his good experiences within their relationship. I didn’t know much about the program at the time, other than it involved volunteering my time and working closely with a young girl I would be paired up with.

My first step was to attend one of the many Info Sessions Big Sisters hold regularly around the Lower Mainland, to learn more about the program and it’s requirements. Once I decided I was definitely interested I filled out an application package, attended an orientation session with other hopeful candidates, and then a one-on-one screening interview with a Big Sister councelor. It was a couple of months before Big Sisters got back to me about a potential match with a teenaged girl named Lauren. They put a lot of care and attention into finding just the right combination of people because they want the relationship to last.

In the beginning it felt very odd and awkward, to both Lauren and I, to hang out because essentially ours is an arranged relationship even though we are both willingly involved. It has taken time to get to know one another and become comfortable talking about ourselves, but it’s totally worth it. It was also tricky between both our schedules to come up with a regular day and time to get together, but seeing each other the same day every week has been key in helping the relationship grow. My “Little Sister” is a wonderful beautiful person, full of life and intelligence, is lots of fun to be around, and shares my love of photography.I feel lucky to know Lauren and she would not have come into my life any other way.

If you are interested in becoming a Big Sister yourself, please call Call 604.873.4525 ext. 300 or email info(at)bigsisters(dot)bc(dot)ca. Information about qualifications can be found here.

© Rachael Ashe