Anne Guthrie was matched with Little Sister Margaret in May 2009 – and since then, the two have enjoyed learning from and growing with each other. They graduated from the BBBSCI program in 2018 at our Annual Celebrate Mentoring event. We are proud to recognize Anne Guthrie as our Big Sister of the Year for serving as a role model, friend, and advocate for Margaret throughout the past 9 years. Read below to hear more about Anne’s experience in her own words.
“I have seen Margaret overcome many challenges since I have known her. Margaret was born with craniosynostosis and a soft palate – resulting from her mother’s anti-seizure medication in utero. The medication also caused permanent damage to her inner ears. She has had numerous surgeries throughout the years to repair her ears and now wears hearing aids. Because her mother is on disability for her seizures, the family has lived in poverty. Her mother is unable to drive and must rely on public transportation or family and friends to get anywhere, which has greatly limited her opportunities. Despite these circumstances Margaret has always exhibited a positive attitude – her cup is always half full – AND refillable!
She is a kind, loving young woman who makes friends easily. She loves her teachers and school choir, and is very active in her church. In spite of her inner ear problems, which cause some balance issues, she recently passed her black belt in martial arts. Margaret is very willing to participate in public service projects and has a big heart full of gratitude. I am a children’s librarian and my library has always encouraged us to be a part of our community and help meet it’s needs. I became a founding member of a Kiwanis Club, and our mission focus was two high poverty elementary schools in our community. To that end, I asked BBBS if I could mentor a child from Northeast Elementary. As a result, Margaret was assigned to me in March 2009 when she was in fourth grade at Northeast Elementary. By this time in my life, my children were all raised and I had just finished graduate school so I had time available to volunteer.
When I began this journey, I was looking at the benefits I could share with Margaret, such as cultural enrichment, adventures, educational opportunities, and more. What I did not anticipate was how much I would be blessed by our friendship. Throughout the years, I have been able to take Margaret to all the wonderful activities that were offered by BBBSCI and our great city of Indianapolis! We have had so many adventures! I have had the joy of seeing the world through fresh eyes and Margaret has helped me widen my horizons and build confidence. I signed us up for the year-long SMART art classes with great trepidation. I’ve always felt I had ZERO artistic ability but didn’t want Margaret to miss this opportunity. It was an absolutely FABULOUS program! Margaret spent the entire year encouraging and inspiring me and we ended up finishing some lovely pieces. We learned so much about expressing ourselves through art!
Some of our favorite memories include: cheering at Indianapolis Colts’ playoff games, paddling down the White River Canal, swimming with dolphins at the Indianapolis Zoo, admiring masterpieces in the Art Institute of Chicago, visiting the Haunted House in the Children’s Museum, shedding tears at the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s production of To Kill a Mocking Bird, and teaching elementary students etiquette at a Manner’s Tea Party. I think the most memorable activity we ever did was ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at the Greenwood Mall during the holiday season. While we were ringing, I became more and more nervous with all the different people passing by, while Margaret was never intimidated. She always greeted everyone with a confident smile and friendly, “Merry Christmas!” What an amazing kid! She has inspired me in so many ways. Being a Big Sister to Margaret has greatly enhanced my life. Seeing her grow from a shy 10 year old to a confident, poised, responsible, and compassionate young adult has been one of the most gratifying things I’ve been a part of in my 65 years.”