Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass matched my 12-year-old daughter, Melody, with her Big Sister 21/2 years ago. I have been continually amazed at how well they matched them. They could very well have been sisters.
My daughter wanted a "younger" Big Sister. Her Big Sister, Nikki St. Lawrence, was 19 when we met her. She has the same color hair and eyes as my daughter.
Both of them have single moms and have a lot of things in common that go along with that.
Before my daughter met her Big Sister, she answered some survey questions. On that survey, she said that she was not sure whether she would graduate from high school. She also said that she didn't know whether she would go to college. After meeting her Big Sister, who is a hard-working college student with a strong work ethic, my daughter's two-year follow-up survey indicated that she knows she will graduate from high school and is pretty sure she will go to college.
I never expected to have these very real and measurable positive results. I was very pleasantly surprised.
I can't help but think of all of the Little Sisters, Big Sisters and parents who will be absolutely crushed if the program cannot continue to operate.
I also think of how many children, who could join the program, might be deprived of such a positive experience. Investing in these children is an investment in our future.
There aren't a whole lot of people in my daughter's life who take time out just to be with her. Her Big Sister does. She's there when she says she will be there, and she makes time for her two to four times a month, sometimes more. She calls at least once a week. They go to the movies, the park, the library and museums. They do crafts and bake cookies together. Big Sister has helped Little Sister with her homework sometimes. They genuinely enjoy spending time together.
My daughter admires her Big Sister and says she feels a lot like family. I'm just glad she has someone, besides me, whom she can depend on to be there for her. This can be so hard to find, particularly in single-parent families.
This program has given me a way to show my daughter that when someone wants to spend time with you, he or she will make the time.
It has given me hope that my daughter can defy the odds and grow into a decent citizen and be successful, in spite of what she has been through in her life. It also has given me someone I can trust to spend time with my daughter, so that I can have a couple of hours to myself.
Big Brothers Big Sisters depends a great deal on the generous donations of people in the community.
The organization has had difficulty overcoming the effects of embezzlement, even though the guilty party has been prosecuted.
I will join the Bowl For Kids' Sake fund-raiser and plan to make donations myself. Please consider helping. Visit Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass Facebook page to donate online or stop by the Lexington office at 1016 Rushwood Court.