Little Sister Shania has been matched with Big Sister Kelly since September 2017. Check out today’s blog post to meet Portia, Shania’s mother, and learn why she thinks Kelly and Shania are a “miracle match.”
Question: What motivated you to enroll Shania in the program?
Portia: We are members of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Mid-North American Promise program. We received a newsletter letting us know that BBBSCI was accepting children for enrollment from the MNAP program, I applied. I was already a little familiar with BBBSCI. I am a foster parent, and three of the children I fostered were matched as Littles with Bigs before they were placed in the foster care system.
Question: What did you hope to get out of the program when you enrolled Shania?
Portia: I adopted Shania. And outside of the resources that are provided to Shania from family, friends, church, and school, I felt that BBBSCI would be a very positive way for her to be a mentee and have someone outside of the umbrella in which she was being raised. I worked at the Children’s Museum, I’m her mom, and I’m her girl scout leader – it was a way for her to develop a relationship with a mentor that had no direct involvement with me.
Question: What positive changes have you seen since Shania was matched as a Little?
Portia: Shania and her Big Sister Kelly have a wonderful relationship! They have a lot of synergy with shared life experiences. Because of Kelly’s positive outlook, engagement, and influence, Shania has really grown. She’s a more outgoing, and a little more accepting of her circumstances. Recently, Kelly attended a conference with Shania’s teacher as we prepare Shania for 8th grade. In that conference, Shania advocated for herself to her teacher. I think that strength came from Kelly’s mentoring. Kelly told Shania she was proud of her, and I know that meant a lot to Shania.
Question: What do you enjoy the most about the BBBSCI program?
Portia: It’s not about the organization itself, but in the process of choosing and making a match of a Little with a Big. Kelly and Shania both have shared experiences in their medical history. I call it a ‘miracle match’ because of the tutoring Kelly provides, and the activities they do together – whether it’s creating art or going on a walk together. Through those activities, Kelly was able to give Shania comfort and put her at ease. I would also call them a perfect match. What we have with Kelly now is an extended family and kinship. There’s mutual adoration and trust. Kelly is more like a part of our family than just Shania’s Big Sister, and that comes from the longevity of their match.
Question: How have Shania and Kelly managed to stay connected throughout this past year during COVID-19?
Portia: Shania and Kelly were able to FaceTime, do Zoom activities, and attend virtual events together. They really kept in touch this past year. What Shania and Kelly have is a really good friendship and lifetime commitment. That’s why I call them the perfect match! The pandemic didn’t put a halt on their bonding or friendship.
Question: What would you tell people who are considering signing up to be a Big?
Portia: If you have a caring heart and can be devoted to a fulfilling mentorship to uplift a young person, then you should do it! There are children waiting for a mentor. As a foster parent, I appreciate people who take time out of their busy schedules to lend some of their life experiences with another person.