#Besties: A match for now and always
Little Sister Aryanna and Big Sister Karli’s story, from beginning to middle to no end in sight
Where it started
Karli’s journey to Big Sisterhood sprang out of love. After years’ watching her childhood best friend and her friend’s family share their lives with Littles in St. Joseph, Missouri, Karli – along with her then-fiancé/now-spouse – decided to become Bigs through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri (BBBSEMO) in 2015… to their own Littles. “We heard there were over 1,000 kids on the waiting list,” she says, adding, “We had the time, and the energy, and no children of our own. So we said, ‘Why not?’ And it’s been really great.”
Being a Big Sister has also sparked new passion. In fact, BS Karli has found the experience so fulfilling that she has shared her love for 1:1 mentorship, and her commitment to recruiting more volunteers, with her work family at a BBBSEMO Lunch+Learn. And bringing that important part of her personal life to her professional one comes out of the change Karli’s seen in her Little Sister Aryanna over the two years they’ve been matched.
Where it’s gone
“The most rewarding part of being a Big,” BS Karli says, “is really watching the paradigm shift for my Little.” Along with requests to go on college campus visits, for example, and sharing what she’s interested in pursuing once there, 17-year-old Aryanna has begun seeing herself in other new places, too – a small but significant example of the hope that can shine through everyday life role-modeling.
“She’s started taking an interest in owning a house,” says BS Karli, whose hang-out time with LS Aryanna includes listening (and “belting it out”) to the Bruno Mars music station at home. “She recently asked me, ‘How does a loan work?’ It’s so cool to see her opening up her mind to these new experiences.”
Where it continues to go
Learning more about higher education and adulting is just one aspect of opportunity that comes with being matched. LS Aryanna and BS Karli’s relationship also exemplifies how Big Brothers Big Sisters friendships open up worlds of perspective and potential to mentor and mentee alike.
“Some of the best conversations we’ve had have revolved around some of the touchy political things that are happening,” BS Karli reflects, noting how closely her Little Sister follows the news. “It’s been so great to see from her vantage point, to be able to ask her openly about how things are affecting her personally, or at school… her interest in events and talking about them has been wonderful.”
While their match is relatively young, its blossoming through Big Sister Karli and Little Sister Aryanna’s respective young adult- and teenage transitions points to a bond to last for many years to come. After all, it’s not every day you meet somebody you can sing – and cry laughing tears – with in the kitchen, even as you navigate big life decisions together.
4 hours per month / 1-year commitment