Read about the impact mentorship has made on these Big & Little lives!
Big Sister Brooke & Little Sister Mi'Kaylah
"Hi, my name is Brooke Lomax, I serve as a mentor and Board Member for Big Brothers Big Sisters. My journey with BBBS began when I was a student intern while studying Education at the University of Mary Washington. I was inspired to be a mentor because giving back to my community through volunteer work is important to me and I enjoy working with children.
When I felt it was the right time to mentor, I looked on the Big Brothers Big Sisters website for information on getting started and filled out the contact form. I quickly heard back from the office with next steps in the application process. The process of becoming a mentor began with me being interviewed, they checked my background, and then I had mentor training. By the end I felt fully prepared and supported to begin my journey as a Big Sister.
My Little Sister’s name is Mi’Kaylah and we have been matched for three years. When we were first matched, I found that we were matched so well, and our personalities fit perfectly. I remember when I was her age and can relate to the many changes that she is currently going through and how beneficial it was to have an adult I could trust to talk through these things with.
During the years that I have been with Mi’kaylah, the Big Brothers Big Sisters staff has called me on a regular basis to check in. My Match Advocate is there to listen and provide feedback on bettering the match. The BBBS newsletter and emails from the staff offer suggestions on places to visit in the community that help me and Mi’kaylah decide what to do for our match outings. Through my match support we have been to holiday parties, Fred Nats baseball games, the circus, swimming at the YMCA, fishing, and more. Almost all these activities are free with donated tickets and community support from places like Hope Springs Marina.
Mi’kaylah and I have a lot in common with the activities that we enjoy doing together. We enjoy visiting the library to check out books and play games, hiking around parks, and trying new flavors at local ice cream shops. We also participate in events hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters like the Breakfast with Santa and Bowl for Kids’ Sake. No matter what we are doing, we always find a way to make it an adventure. The memories we have together are countless and have helped us grow closer together. Mi’kaylah believes strongly that she knows me very well at this point as she handed me a pack of my favorite Swedish Fish candy.
When Mi’kaylah came into the program her mom explained that she was the only younger daughter in the home and sometimes was outnumbered by her three brothers. She also had to take on responsibility of caring for her brothers and her mom wanted her to have something that was just for her. Mi’kaylah and I are truly like sisters in the way that we trust each other and have a judgement free relationship. We have enjoyed the everyday things such as taking a walk around her neighborhood, the special outings like serving less fortunate in our community, and the serious times in the conversations around life transitions.
Mi’kaylah is changing her view on life as we grow though this mentorship together. When I first met her she was very pessimistic and not excited about the future. Now she looks forward to doing well in school and is hopeful of the opportunities that await her. Mi’kaylah comes to me and shares things about her life, trusting me with personal information, and mainly knows that she has someone there to simply listen and give her a space to be heard. As a mentor I have learned that it really does take a village to raise a child, having someone to talk to outside of your parents is so helpful.
Through the time we have spent together, I have been able to show her a positive future. We have talked about future and what she hopes to do and be as she grows up. As she gets older, we are working on setting goals and discussing the paths that it takes to get her there. I am excited and look forward to seeing all that she will accomplish in life.
Through Big Brothers Big Sisters, many children like Mi’kaylah are finding someone to have in their corner through the challenges they face in life. I’d like to ask you to consider ways you can support Big Brothers Big Sisters, so other kids can have the support of a Big Sister. This organization is amazing in the transformation that is happening through each Big/Little match, the caring staff, and amazing supporters like you all here this morning, thank you."
Big Brother Langston and Little Brother Michael have not been matched for very long but it seems like they have known each other a lot longer.
Micheal's mom came to BBBS looking for a mentor for her son a few years ago right before the pandemic hit. BBBS was not immune from the impact of the pandemic and
Big Brother Langston & Little Brother Michael
We struggled to find volunteers and help our matches meet virtually. Unfortunately, this meant that we were not able to find a mentor for Michael right away but as the saying goes, all good things come to those who wait! When people felt comfortable enough to start volunteering again, we met Langston and we just knew the pair would hit it off.
They have had a great summer going to baseball games and enjoying each other's company. Langston even helped Michael find some books to read to help him with his school work.
Watching Michael and Langston hang out is just a reminder of how important our work is.
Little Sister, Stevonya, and her Big Sister, Thelma, have been matched since May 2021.
Stevonya has lived with her aunt she since she was 5 years old. Stevonya’s Aunt requested a Big Sister as she is legally blind which sets limitations on what she can do with Stevonya and many home responsibilities fall to Stevonya. Her Aunt hoped a Big Sister would give Stevonya individualized attention.
Big Sister Babs & Little Sister Mia
Stevonya was matched with Thelma. Stevonya and Thelma started the relationship strong. They enjoyed talking and going into the community. Stevonya and Thelma attended BBBS events such as a “Confidence Clinic” where the goal was to encourage a positive self-image. Thelma was encouraged to take the time needed to form a strong relationship with Stevonya.
Since the start of the match, Thelma and Stevonya have built a mentoring relationship based on shared interests, encouragement, and goal setting. One of Stevonya’s goals is to go to college and Thelma is arranging college tours and talking about how she can set herself up now for success after graduation.
She is also soon working on obtaining her driver’s license. Thelma and Stevonya have a great time together!