Big Sister Betsy and Little Sister Ahliyah just celebrated their 8th anniversary being matched together, and they were the agency’s 2020 Big Sister/Little Sister Match of the Year. For National Mentoring Month this January, we asked them to share what it was like in the beginning, what it’s like now, and what advice they would give to anyone considering becoming a mentor:
What has kept your relationship going for over 8 years?
Betsy: “Sometimes I wonder how 8 years have passed already. But our relationship is so easy and the time just flies. Early on in our match, I faced some serious health issues and thought about walking away. I had to cancel so many outings due to illness and appointments, I thought that I just didn’t have the time or energy to be a good mentor. But then I realized that being with Ahliyah wasn’t just an obligation, it was a privilege to spend time with her. Being with her gave me the kind of social interaction that made me feel better. She isn’t just a volunteer opportunity, she is someone I genuinely care about and want to spend time with.”
Ahliyah: “Well me and Betsy are like best friends and we get to bake and go to cool art things together.”
What about being a Big/Little is different than you thought it would be when you started?
Betsy: “I don’t think I was prepared for how rewarding it is. Watching Ahliyah grow up has given me all of the pride and joy of raising her myself, without all of the work.“
Ahliyah: “I thought being a Little would be awkward because I don’t know how to really communicate with people, but it actually turned out cool.”
How has being a Big/Little changed your outlook, attitude, or perspective?
Betsy: “They say that having kids changes everything. Well, being a Big does too. I work harder to make the world a better place because I want her to live in a better world.”
Ahliyah: “Being a Little has taught me to open up with people and be myself.”
If someone is thinking about becoming a Big, what do you most want them to know?
Betsy: “It’s important to keep an open mind and give it time. I was scared silly the first time I met Ahliyah and her family, and I kept telling myself I couldn’t do this. But I am so glad I stuck it out and you will be too.”
Ahliyah: “If someone wanted to be a Big I’d probably tell them that it’d be fun and you’d make a cool friend.”