Woman will always have her ‘Little Sister’

Published 5:04 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2017

By Jenna Hendricks

Special to the Enterprise

Growing up I had the privilege of having many role models and mentors in my life. My family, coaches, and teachers all served a purpose and taught me many life skills. However, I now know that I was naïve in thinking that every young person has that same privilege.

Big Brothers Big Sisters staff strives to achieve the best quality match for the littles in our program. We devote our time and energy into supporting young people in the best way possible. We have the opportunity to witness remarkable accomplishments, experiences, and success among our volunteers and children. I am blessed to have such a rewarding career, working in the community that I grew up in.

I am not writing as an employee of Big Brothers Big Sisters but as a Big Sister in the program. I was matched with my Little, Jennifer, in 2011. Jennifer was a sweet, shy, and remarkably smart seventh grader.

One of my fondest memories was the first Halloween and Christmas we spent together carving pumpkins and baking Christmas cookies, something Jennifer had never done.

At the age of 23, I didn’t know how much influence I could have on Jennifer but I knew I wanted to try. We spent a lot of our time going to dinner and trying new restaurants while talking about middle school, sports, and her future. I encouraged Jennifer on the tennis courts and soccer field; in addition to being a stellar student, she was also a star-athlete. I attended her eighth grade graduation where she was given several awards. I remember dreading her call saying she got her driver’s license because I thought she may not want to hang out with me.

But most recently, I have experienced getting a call from Jennifer saying she was accepted into three colleges. All I can say is Wow! While at 23, I was worried about the influence I would have on her. At 28, I am amazed at the influence she has had on me.

Jennifer, you have taught me to be resilient and stay focused.  You are one of the hardest working 18 year olds that I’ve ever met. You lived out your high school days to the fullest while maintaining a high GPA and taking AP courses, volunteering in the community, and making strides athletically. You set your mind to something and you go after it. This mindset will get you far in life. I am beyond proud of you and your accomplishments.

While our match relationship officially ends when you graduate and move off to college, I want you to know that you will always be my “little sister” and that I am here for you whenever you need me. To my Little, I am grateful for Big Brothers Big Sisters, your family, and our experience together over the last six years and wish you the best in your next endeavor. Congratulations on graduating high school.

Thank you to our gracious supporters who donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters financially in order to support our matches.