Of Johnson County
Big Sister Kate and her Little Sister Bailey
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization that is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children. Built on the belief that all children have the potential to be successful and that they need close relationships with an adult, Big Brothers Big Sisters reaches out to students nation-wide. As an active “Big”, this organization has had significant impact on my life for the past seven years.
I was introduced to Big Brothers Big Sisters in middle school. I’ll never forget hearing about this organization from one of my classmates. She had a big sister and would describe the adventures and relationship that they had. I knew from that moment on, that I would be a “Big” as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
Upon my arrival at college, I quickly located the Big Brothers Big Sisters office and applied to be matched as soon as possible. By September of my freshman year I had been matched with an intuitive second grader. Once a week, I had the privilege of walking to Bailey’s school and eating lunch with her. I’ll never forget my first day at the school, talking to the counselor and meeting the skinny little girl that would become my sister.
That first year we learned a lot; she learned my name after about five months and I learned how to fit her lunch into my schedule of college classes. I remember going to lunch as often as possible, asking Big Brothers Big Sisters if I could see my new little sister more than once a week. There are so many stories I could tell of our conversations. She never ceased to amaze me or make me laugh! Two things stuck with me more than anything else. First of all, Bailey wanted me to be her ‘real’ sister. That was an easy remedy. From day one, we told everyone that we were sisters. There were no exceptions or explanations, we were sisters. The second thing I learned, is that second graders are very intuitive. When talking to Big Brothers Big Sisters regarding my match, I learned that Bailey’s younger brother had passed away that same year. Her mother was pleased to have me matched with Bailey because of my own experience with grief in the loss of my mother and involvement in children’s grief camp. Bailey was not easily fooled. As we chatted and played games during lunch, she asked some probing questions. One time she asked me if anyone close to me had died. I informed her that my mother died. She told me about her brother and then quickly made the connection, “I think they put us together because someone special died in our families.” I couldn’t help but smile and confirm that she just might be right.
Everyone in my life knows about my little sister. I talk about her all of the time. She is a huge part of my life. Today, she told me, “I remember every word you say”. I felt honored and then I suddenly found myself trying to recall everything that I have ever told her. I understand that I have an impact on her life, just like she has impacted mine, but the vastness of that influence astounded me tonight. I am so thankful for my little sister. I thought that I would be a “big” to change the life of a ‘little’ but instead, I have been immensely blessed by our time together. Every time I see her again, I am amazed at how our relationship has grown.
I decided to become a Big Brother to stand in the gap for a boy needing a positive role model. I wanted to be the man available to offer guidance, be an encourager, and one for whom a little brother can always rely.
During this first year, Frankie and I have gotten to know each other well. Frankie is a wonderful boy who cares deeply for his Mom and sisters. He is energetic, intelligent, athletic, and we have many things in common. The time we spend together is rarely extravagantly planned. Most the time we just hang out together and talk. Other times we play catch or watch movies. But, the thing I didn’t anticipate going into this relationship is the effect Frankie would have on my life. My attempt to bless the life of this young man has turned out to be a blessing in my own. I am so fortunate to be a part of this young man’s life. Getting to know Frankie and his family is truly rewarding. I always look forward to our time together and can’t wait to see the great things Frankie will accomplish in life.