Little Sister Isabell, 17, and Big Sister Diane were matched in April 2015. It was an instant connection for them both. “I thought Diane was a big kid who was never self-conscious, and I loved that!” says Isabell.
Diane joined Big Brothers Big Sisters in hopes of being the kind of mentor to a child that her brother, who is 14 years older, was to her. “Without him, I wouldn’t have graduated from high school, much less gone to college or gotten a master’s degree,” says Diane. “I’ve always wanted children but have been unable to have them. I wanted to make a difference in a young life, and mentoring Isabell has given me that chance.”
Since they have been matched for so long, Diane has really been watching Isabell grow into an incredible young lady. “When she was younger we would go to the park and play, or to the hot springs, “Diane says. “As she got older, we just talk. She video calls me or I go see her and we just talk about anything and everything. As a Little gets older, it’s less about activities and more about consistent connection and mentorship.” Isabell adds that they love to laugh together, share gossip, and talk about fashion. “And we love to practice being spiritual and loving yourself,” Isabell says.
Isabell has endless respect for her Big Sister, which is so clear whenever you ask her about her experience in Big Brothers Big Sisters. “My favorite thing about my Big is that she is a fearless boss woman, and will do anything for you to help you be the better you! [From Diane] I learned that it doesn’t matter how far you go in life, do what makes you happy and learn from your mistakes. Always try harder every day.”
“Isabell makes me a better person,” says Diane. “She really helps me see things from a different point of view and I will be forever grateful for her. She teaches me how to listen and not FIX. There’s only so much we can do as Bigs and I think the guidelines we are given helps with the human tendency to help versus to just be there. Just being there is helping.”
The friendship Isabell and Diane have built is truly long-lasting. Isabell says that the experience of being a Little has taught her a lot, and that she believes it will make her a better adult. “I hope Isabell finds a career she loves, and loves living as an independent adult,” says Diane. “It has been an honor watching her grow up and I can’t wait to see her graduate from high school.”
“My Big has taught me how to be the successful person I want to become,” says Isabell, “and to reach for the stars!”