From Little Sister to Student Intern with BBBSEM
From Little Sister to Student Intern with BBBSEM
Graduated Little, Natasha, Reflects on Her Experience as a Little Sister and a BBBSEM Intern
BOSTON, MA – Little, Natasha, reflects on her experience as a mentee and now, a Marketing Intern at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts (BBBSEM).
At seven years old, it was difficult to understand what a Big Sister was. I already had a big sister, she was a year older than me and we were best friends. Little did I know, this sister would find a special place in my heart. One evening, my aunt told me that someone was coming over to hang out for a little bit, and by this I thought she meant I was having a play date with someone from school. Instead, she had contacted Big Brothers Big Sisters and enrolled me in their mentorship program. That night, May 14, 2007, I was meeting my potential Big – her name was Debbie. I was a really shy little kid, constantly looking at the ground when adults spoke to me. Nothing changed when Debbie came into my house. We sat at the kitchen table with our Match Support Specialist and my aunt. I was rather quiet, unsure of what to say; meanwhile, my little brother ran around the kitchen in his diaper, bottle in hand. After just an hour, I knew I really liked Debbie and assumed we would get along well, but I could not have imagined how important she would soon become to me.
It didn’t take long for Debbie to begin scheduling outings with me a couple of times each month. I would happily hop in the car, excited to hear what she had planned for us that day. She never failed to surpass my expectations with her activities, from picnics in the park and trips to Plymouth Plantation to making dinner at her house and jumping in leaf piles in the back yard. It was the little things and the easiest outings to plan that really meant the most to me. I didn’t need anything extravagant – I loved our picnics at Bird Park where she would pack me blueberries and a sandwich with crunchy peanut butter. The outings continued for years and we have created an unbelievable number of memories. One of my favorite activities was throwing the ceremonial first pitch at a Red Sox game alongside Debbie and my older sister. Debbie bought my sister and I matching baseball gloves, and would take me to the park near my house to practice my throw. It was an exciting experience to hear our names announced on the loud speaker and nailing that pitch.
It wasn’t until I was nearing the end of high school that I really understood the ineffable impact Debbie was having on my life. When I was young, I thought she was just taking me out to do fun things, but the older I grew, the more I learned what she was really doing. She was developing a sense of confidence and strength within myself, explaining that the world was at my fingertips. We set a goal when I was little to visit several colleges in the Boston area, something I was super excited about. Debbie was one of the first people who mentioned college to me and, at the time, it seemed light years away. She was preparing me for the decisions I would have to make down the road but also made it very clear that I would have a number of options if I worked hard. I grew more and more excited each time I saw her to tell her how I was doing in school and show her my report cards at the end of each term. She made me believe that I could do anything, as long as I was committed and worked hard. Once I was accepted into Boston College, she was one of the first people I was thrilled to tell.
My experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters has really come full circle, as I have been working at BBBSEM as a Marketing & Communications Intern this summer. Being able to explore my career options at a place that I am extremely passionate about, and one that has changed my life for the better, has truly been an invaluable experience. It is comforting to know that the work we do at Big Brothers Big Sisters has such a profound impact on people’s lives. I asked my aunt why she enrolled me with BBBS, she said that she was simply unable to give my four siblings and I the attention we all needed. Debbie was able to be a constant outlet of support for me and show me things I otherwise may not have seen. I am so grateful to have been enrolled in this program and matched with a woman who has played an incredibly significant role in my life. If you are considering enrolling your child in the BBBS mentorship program, or volunteering as a mentor, please know that you could have an incredible influence on a child’s life.
For more information on becoming a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts, please visit www.emassbigs.org.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts is the state’s leading one-to-one mentoring program for youth. The nonprofit partners with under-resourced families to provide children with one-to-one relationships with caring adult mentors who help them reach their fullest potential. With research and proven outcomes at its core, the nonprofit creates Big-Little matches based on shared interests, geography and personality and serves as a consistent resource for Bigs, Littles and their families. Throughout its 70 years, the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliate in New England has created and served more than 20,000 matches and will serve even more this year. For more information, visit: www.emassbigs.org.