National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of our mentors and their dedication to defending the potential of their Littles. BBBSCI is proud to stand together with the Bigs, parents, partners, and donors who make our mission possible. Today, and every day, we recognize and thank those who empower our Littles to achieve their biggest possible futures.
Each year, Big Brothers Big Sisters honors outstanding volunteers – a Big Brother of the Year and a Big Sister of the Year. These mentors are nominated for their dedicated commitment to defending the potential of their Little and going above and beyond to promote the life-changing mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
This year, we are proud to recognize Inga Harrington as our 2018 Big Sister of the Year. Inga is a two-time Big Sister and has been matched with with Little Sister Vanessa since November 2015. Little Sister Vanessa; her aunt, Vanessa; and Rod, the Mentoring Relationship Specialist, share a little bit about why Inga is more than deserving of her Big Sister of the Year honor.
Little Sister Vanessa: “My Big Sister Inga helped me grow positively in my self-esteem, my ability to speak up, and my independence in expressing my wants and goals. When we first met, I was very shy. I was a little nervous to go and try new things, but after a while I was more comfortable with our match. I became engaged in school and enjoyed trying things that I never imagined myself doing. My Big Sister Inga is special to me because she always makes sure that I’m staying on top of my school work, makes sure that I am on top of my college applications, and researching scholarships. She is helping me prepare for my long-term future and I am so grateful for that. Inga is also special because she is someone in my life who introduces me to new things that I would never think about doing and has involved me in things that will help me prepare for my future and my success in life. If I never had the opportunity to have a Big Sister, I would probably still have low self-esteem. I also wouldn’t know the steps necessary for preparing for college or have any of the materials I need. I also would have missed out on the opportunity to go to Colts games, Pacers games, swimming with dolphins, and meeting some AKA sorority members. I want to say thank you for being the best Big Sister I’ve ever had.”
Rod Ferguson, Mentoring Relationship Specialist: “Inga has played a vital role in helping Vanessa to become more confident in herself. She encouraged Vanessa to try a variety of new activities and introduced Vanessa to her friends and sorority sisters to help her with her communication skills. Inga has taken Vanessa on college tours and has helped her believe that she can go to college. Inga has demonstrated commitment to the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters by mentoring two young ladies over a twelve-year period. As a Big Sister, Inga encouraged a young teenage girl to reach for the stars as she fulfills her dreams of going to college. Vanessa has developed into a more confident and independent young lady as a result of having Inga in her life. The impact Inga has had on her Little is life-changing and will continue to serve Vanessa for years to come.”
Vanessa’s aunt, Vanessa: “After 3 years of watching Vanessa and Inga, I have to say that Inga is the perfect Big Sister for my niece. She is patient, persistent, and very caring. Inga has helped Vanessa in many ways, especially by helping her come out of the shell she was in when they first met. Inga also encouraged her to try new things and to always be open to new opportunities. Vanessa’s education and overall life perspective have improved significantly due to Inga’s influence. Before she met Inga, Vanessa’s self-esteem was very low. Now, Vanessa has confidence, pushes herself to try new things, and is willing to work hard for what she wants. What makes Vanessa special is that she is easy going, friendly, respectable, honest, kind to others, and has a great personality. I think a large part of who Vanessa has grown up to be is a result of her friendship with her Big Sister Inga.”