Rylee’s Story: Small Steps Towards Success

Greg Wood, Marketing and Special Events Intern

Amongst the plethora of studies and inspirational quotes proclaiming the importance of mentorship, its impact can just as well be illustrated by a mentee’s life-changing story.  The transformative experience of one our Littles, Rylee, is no exception.  With the tremendous help of her Big Sister Lia, Rylee (now 10 years old) has made leaps and bounds to overcome her own struggles with social anxiety.  Rylee and Lia’s powerful story is just one out of many in which the life of a Little has been changed for the better, forever.

Rylee and Lia.JPG

Rylee and Lia together at the Worcester Arts Magnet School this Spring.

Before matching with Lia, Rylee had always struggled with anxiety and making friends at school.  At recess with nobody to play with, Rylee would “dance with her shadow” instead of chasing friends around the playground.  According to her mother, she simply “wasn’t in a good place to learn” due to her emotional obstacles.  Daunting as it was, conquering this adversity was soon made possible through the strong emotional support of a Big Sister.

“This never would have happened without the program, I know it.”

-Jessica, mother of Rylee

Rylee was matched with Lia, an employee at the Hanover Insurance Group, in November of 2016 through one of our site-based programs.  In less than a year, Lia’s mentorship has already left a visible impact in Rylee’s life.  At the dawn of their relationship, Lia recognized that Rylee’s biggest challenge was a need to socialize more comfortably.  Since then, Rylee has made close friends with fellow Littles at her site through the coordination of their respective Bigs, sitting together at lunch and most recently attending the school dance together.

Both Lia and Rylee’s mother Jessica were astounded by Rylee’s change for the better.  “This never would have happened without the program, I know it,” said Jessica, who was “floored” by her daughter’s drastic boost in social confidence.  “I think she has come a long way,” said Lia, “and I am so glad her mother has noticed some of the progress that I [have].”

Rylee is certainly not alone in her transformation: in 2016, 74% of our Littles indicated improvement in “social acceptance.”

Adversity comes in many forms for our Littles, and it is our organization’s ongoing mission to confront these challenges through strong and enduring one-on-one relationships.  These obstacles are not overcome overnight, but by taking small steps towards success – whether that means going to the school dance or simply meeting a new friend – the children’s lives are changed for the better, forever.

For more information on the Hanover Insurance Group, visit their Facebook page.

For future updates from Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest, be sure to follow our Facebook page.

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