Q: Tell me about your Little Sister, Breanna.
Big Sister Kate: I met Breanna this past Thanksgiving and instantly felt an easy connection with her. I am not sure if it was because we both share a healthy love of Dr. Pepper and Doritos, or that we are both obsessed with all animals-she has a cat, dog and hamster and I have 2 dogs and 2 cats-but it has been great getting to know Breanna for the last 8 months. She has a quick wit and once she has warmed up to you, it really shines. She is kind to everyone she meets and easy to laugh with. Every week she has a different nail polish color on and she keeps me up to date on all the new bands-though we do have a shared love for Nirvana
Q: What was your first time meeting like?
Kate: Breanna can be a little shy when you first meet her so I just told a bunch of funny stories about my family or my dogs until I got her to crack her first smile. After that first laugh, we were instant buds.
Kate: I think we are both a lot more comfortable with each other and it feels like an easy friendship. She is much more confident in herself and I see that she isn’t as shy meeting strangers when we are together. She can voice her opinion a lot more freely and seems to be comfortable telling me about anything that is going on in her life. Breanna is a special girl to spend time with – its always the highlight of my week when I see her.
Q: What positive changes have you seen in Breanna over the course of the match?
Kate: Breanna and I would both say her school work, I think. When we met, she was really struggling with math and science so we sat down and came up with a game plan for the next semester. We talked about what a realistic grade goal for each class would be and we brainstormed on little steps she could take to achieve those goals, for instance, maybe in math, she raises her hand a few more times each week in class or in science she would check in with her teacher once a week after class to get a little extra help. And her report card just before summer break really reflected her hard work! She surpassed all of the goals we set for her and I really couldn’t be more proud of her.
Kate: I think it would have to be when we went to get pedicures. She had never had one and it had been WAY TOO LONG since I had one, so we made a little spa day out of it. We got lunch beforehand, then sat next to each other in the chairs. She picked out this neon green color for herself and she chose a great pink for me. It was funny watching her try not to laugh as they rubbed her feet. Just a great girly day out.
Q: What do you like about being a Big Sister?
Kate: It is, by far, the best thing I have ever volunteered for. Breanna is such a great girl and I feel lucky that we were matched up. We get asked by strangers if we are sisters and I think both Breanna and I get a good laugh from that.
Q: What, if any, challenges have you faced being a Big Sister and how have you overcome them?
Kate: I think the hardest thing has been learning how to talk through life’s challenges with Breanna. Some of it is typical “almost-in-high school” things but some of it is helping Breanna navigate the specific challenges she has faced since she was little. She is a brave girl and a heck of a lot smarter than she gives herself credit for and I just hope I am helping make the transition into young adulthood a little smoother for her.
Kate: I really can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes as she moves into high school. She is going to go far and I am just thankful I get to be a part of her life
Thank you, Kate, for being an amazing volunteer and dedicating your time to your friendship with Breanna.