Matched almost two and a half years ago, friendly-and-supportive Big Sister Rachel made a smooth transition into Little Sister Charlotte’s life. Before meeting Rachel, Charlotte liked to keep to herself and preferred individual activities. Rachel is very understanding, caring, sensitive and fun, and is able to engage Charlotte, the youngest of three sisters, in new interests and activities.
“The Big Brother Big Sister program has been such a success for our daughter Charlotte. She was perfectly matched to her Big. Rachel has engaged Charlotte from the onset and allowed her to be who she is,” says Philippa, Charlotte’s mom. The pair is frequently found at BBBST’s Big and Little events, such as this year’s musical workshop at the Regent Park School of Music, where they learned how to make music on an iPad, explored steel pan and bucket drumming, and got to be part of a community orchestra. They do a lot of fun things together, like going to the movies, doing arts and crafts, and baking yummy treats. “With Rachel, Charlotte is able to shine as an animal-loving kiddo, who likes jewellery and ice cream, and has learned to be prepared for whatever activity they get up to.”
As a Big Sister, Rachel helps her Little Sister make healthy decisions, builds her self-esteem and teaches her essential leadership skills. Although not often a focus for girls, Rachel is teaching Charlotte to be assertive and to speak up about the things that are important to her—giving this young girl confidence, strong communication skills and knowledge about healthy relationships.
Making time to volunteer has never been an issue for Rachel: “The time makes itself. The program gives us wonderful things to do and when we are doing things outside of that, we make it fit.” Rachel has always been very busy, working in recruitment for a large company, “but the time part hasn't ever been an issue. We have been matched for over two years now and Charlotte is growing into a wonderful young woman.”
Charlotte’s well-being is very important to her Big Sister, and Rachel’s working to help her develop a positive identity. Always offering Charlotte an ear to listen, Rachel’s support and guidance, as well as her presence as a happy, strong, passionate and trusted role model, have shaped Charlotte to be more confident in herself, and to get involved in more activities with other kids. “Charlotte is learning that Rachel is her friend—not a parent—but a friend who will always be there for her and, as such, she knows when to say that she just wants to hang out and play—sometimes in our crazy family life, there is no time to just stop and hang out and we are thankful to Rachel for giving Charlotte the space she needs and for being there for our little girl,” says Philippa.
Rachel is a very positive influence, and Charlotte now has more interest in learning new things because of her. Together, as a match, they have an invaluable friendship that’s positively changing both of their lives. When asked what she enjoys most about being a Big Sister, Rachel answers, “I enjoy it all. I now have an extended family that I love and feel a part of, and I get so much joy from the time I spend with Charlotte.”