People have all sorts of motivations behind signing up to be a Big Brother or Sister. The most common reasons we hear are “I was new to the city and wanted to find a way to get involved in my community” or “I had a lot of mentors growing up and wanted to be that for someone else,” or “I wanted to give back to my city and make it a better place for our children.” However, we also have Bigs who were involved with our program in other ways previous to volunteering as a mentor – as is the case for Big Sister Sally Hood.
Though Sally has been matched with her Little Sister Tabitha for over four-and-a-half years now, her involvement with BBBSCI goes back much farther than that. When Sally’s children were growing up, she enrolled them in BBBSCI as Littles and was able to witness the benefits of children having a Big first hand.
“When my kids were younger, I was a single parent and my kids had [Bigs] and having the Bigs as a mentor to my kids was a blessing,” Sally said. “While I tried to fill in the role of both parents, the Bigs were able to give my kids one-on-one time. They were impartial and non-judgmental to our circumstance. They were my kids’ best friend and it meant a lot to me to have them in our lives.”
Sally and Tabitha love spending time together in the kitchen, cooking and baking different dishes for their friends and families to share. This activity has led to countless memories for the match.
“We love to cook and bake together,” Sally said. “When we get together and cook a meal, we sit down with my family for the meal. She even taught me how to make her favorite meal and now it has become a favorite at my house!”
The small act of cooking a dinner one night or taking time to learn a new recipe has proved to be a meaningful experience for Sally. While she signed up as a Big to give back to her community, she’s realized that she, too, has benefited from being a part of BBBSCI.
“The best part about being a Big is watching [Tabitha] blossom into a beautiful young lady,” Sally said. “Over the years we have been together, she has taught me to truly appreciate what we have. Sometimes we get so busy with our daily lives that we forget about the small stuff. Even though I am an adult, I can still have the enthusiasm of a child and be eager to explore and learn new things. I love being a Big!”
Another favorite activity of the match is spending time together giving back to the community. Service projects have become a focus for the two, as both Sally and Tabitha enjoy finding unique ways to serve their community and those who live in it.
“We love making crafts together and during the holidays we make little gifts and hand them out to local nursing home residents,” Sally said. “We have done several service projects together – we’ve collected pet supplies for our local humane society, participated in Relay For Life, and currently we are collecting caps and lids to have them recycled into a bench for [Tabitha’s] school.”
Through the different activities and service projects the two have completed since being matched, Sally said she’s realized her decision to become a Big has been an invaluable one. “[Being a Big] is an opportunity you don’t want to miss,” Sally said. “You will not regret your decision when your Little looks at you and says, ‘I’m so glad you’re my Big Sister.’ Being a Big has filled a void in my life and in my heart that I didn’t even realize was there.”
If you’re interested in becoming a Big, take the first steps today by signing up online or giving us a call at 317.921.2201. More information including eligibility requirements, timeline, and process can be found here.