Teaching – and learning – through Big Brothers Big Sisters

Britt and Je'KyahI 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. 

by Britt Kinder on Fri, Jan 24 2014 11:08 am
Posted by Britt Kinder on Fri, Jan 24 2014 11:08 amBritt Kinder is a strategic communications specialist with American Family Insurance.


Mary said on Feb 07, 2014
A big thanks to Britt for pouring so many positive things into Je'kyah's life. I know each one she will treasure, look back on, and maybe someday share with her own children. Thank you Britt for hanging in there and being a great mentor to her. It has been fun watching your relationship grow, and I appreciate being the recipient of some of the baking projects you have done:-)
Debra Hermsmeier said on Feb 07, 2014
What a sweet story. Thanks for sharing. One of my first jobs when I moved to Madison was as an Admin Assistant at Big Brothers Big Sisters. What a precious gift to the little brothers, sisters and their families.

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