Teaching – and learning – through Big Brothers Big Sisters
I was matched with my “little sister” Je’Kyah in June 2007 through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County in Madison, Wis.
The first time I met her in person was at her house. We ate monster peanut butter cookies and talked about what we liked to do. When I told Je’Kyah I liked to go shopping, bake cookies and watch movies, her eyes lit up. She smiled and I knew we’d be a great match.
That was more than six years ago. My little sister is now 16 and has her learners’ permit. For her 16th birthday, we got facial treatments together and went for coffee afterward. It was her first facial (and to be honest, only my second).
As she was driving us back from our appointment, she mentioned that she’s experienced a lot of “firsts” with me. That got me to thinking I’ve had many firsts with her, too. From feeding the geese at the Henry Vilas Zoo on our first outing to sailing and jet-skiing to watching an opera to Take Your Child to Work Day at American Family.
JeKyah and I have a long list of firsts we’ve experienced together.
She introduced me to Tyler Perry movies and taught me how to use a hot glue gun and tried to teach me dance routines. I introduced her to my childhood favorite movies, like Pretty In Pink, picked up books to read together, and took her shopping at the farmers’ market.
Do we have all the same interests? No. But that’s one of the best parts of our relationship. Our differences have helped each of us learn and grow over the years. I’m confident that will continue as we grow up together.
If you’re interested in finding out how you can make a difference in a child’s life for just a few hours a week, contact your local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. School mentoring programs may also be available.
Editor's note: American Family Insurance is a long-time community partner of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County. And for 32 years, the Bowl for Kids' Sake event has supported dreams of children. Visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters website to learn more about this important event, which raised more than $160,000 in 2013.