(pictured above: Miledrea and Mary at a recent outing)
Little Sister Miledrea was matched with Big Sister Mary in 1994. Shortly after, Miledrea and her family moved to California. Mary and Miledrea have reconnected thanks to the power of social media, and have been able to meet up recently! Today’s blog is a guest post written by Miledrea and Mary about their experience and the impact of BBBS.
Miledrea: “My mother signed me up for a Big Sister through BBBSCI in 1994 when I was 11 years old. I was the oldest of my mother’s children. I was extremely shy and quiet and had low self-esteem. My mom wanted me to connect with someone who had similar interests and hoped BBBSCI would allow me to open up more and have someone positive to look up to and to interact with. I was matched with Big Sister Mary – who loved arts and crafts, just like I did!
Mary was an awesome Big Sister. I remember her trying her best to get to know me and to establish a positive and close friendship. However, I was very timid. She asked questions to get to know me and because I was shy, I vaguely answered. Growing up, my mom didn’t allow us to go with others we didn’t know, so this was a new experience, and although I was open to it, it was still scary for me.
Mary took me to Disney on Ice, out to lunches, and she scheduled fun dates and activities for the future and still, I remained very shy and timid.
The next year, I moved to California and Mary brought me a beautiful gift, a hand-made Christmas stocking and homemade reindeer food. I still have the stocking to this day. She often called to check on me and I was still very timid and didn’t say much. That year after moving, she sent me a beautiful porcelain Mickey Mouse piggy bank (Mickey Mouse has always been my favorite!) I absolutely loved my bank and since have been a huge fan of the Disney Store! I’ve often times have bought gifts for others from the Disney store because I remember how much I cherished my gift from Mary.
Shortly after she sent me the bank, we lost contact. I thought about her often over the years and looked for her on social media. I moved back to Indianapolis in 2002 and tried looking her up but couldn’t locate her. I’ve been back in California since 2008 and last year I looked her up on Facebook and found her! I wasn’t sure if it was her and if so, I wasn’t sure if she would remember me. She responded saying it was her and she remembered me well! We were able to meet once I was in town to catch up and had a great time.
I informed her of the passing of my parents and she was very caring. Shortly after we met up, she lost her mother and I was able to be supportive given I could empathize given my experience of losing my mother. She is still as sweet and as caring as she was when I was 11 years old. I am going to be visiting Indianapolis later in the year and we made arrangements to meet. During this time, she was also able to meet my fiancé. It was a very special experience, and per usual, she brought us beautiful thermos that she creatively personalized with our names!
I am no longer shy and closed off – I’m the complete opposite! I vividly recall our shared interaction when I was younger and I wish I was more open and receptive of her friendship. Since we got back in touch, she continues to send me beautiful arts and crafts that she makes along with other thoughtful gifts. She was the only person that sent me a card and gift upon graduating grad school.
We often exchange thoughtful gifts and cards! We both love cats, so many of the text messages and gifts we send have to do with our love for kitties! Throughout the business of school and dealing with so many unexpected adversities, Mary has been a breath of fresh air. Having someone genuinely nice and sweet to talk to and connect with is nice. Mary is amazing person and friend and I look forward to continuing to build our lifelong friendship.
Thank you BBBSCI for connecting me with a lifelong friend who is a genuinely sweet and authentic person. There aren’t many people in this world like Mary and I’m so glad I can call her my Big Sister!”
Big Sister Mary also enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with Little Sister Miledrea! Check out her experience below:
Mary: It has been such a pleasure reconnecting with Miledrea. I remember vividly when we first met. Truth be told, I think I was just as nervous/ scared as she was. She was my very first Little Sister and I had no idea if I was doing the right things. She was so shy and I kept asking her questions to try to get to know her. I am sure she must have thought I was the nosiest woman in the world. We finally found our common ground in crafting. We didn’t have much time to spend together before her family moved.
I was so thrilled when she reached out to me on Facebook. I didn’t realize that I had made that much of an impact on her life in the short time we were matched. I was so honored that she took the time to try and find me. It has been so much fun getting to know her again and to see the lovely young lady she has become. I am so proud of her accomplishments and I know that her Mom would be, too. Her Mom was a very kind and caring lady, and Miledrea has those same qualities. When I lost my own Mom earlier this year, she was one of the first people to reach out with words of comfort and support.
I, too am looking forward to continuing our lifelong friendship.”