If People Knew How Much It Would Change Their Lives

“Are those real people up there?”  Julie was stunned by the question 10-year-old Cassidy just asked her, sitting in the Durham Performing Arts Center for the first time.  Prior to that night, Cassidy had never seen live theater – only movies and television.  That was two years ago, still early in their Big Sister Little Sister relationship, and just the start of many things Cassidy would learn from Julie.

Today, if you ask Cassidy what it means to have a Big like Julie in her life, she will tell you that it’s great to have someone to talk openly with, and to share in her personal interests like sewing, fabrics, arts and crafts, reading, drawing, and swimming.  Big Brothers Big Sisters has provided Cassidy “the opportunity to see and do things I’ve never done before.”  Before meeting Julie, Cassidy was a bit timid.  She had had a couple of other match attempts that didn’t work out.  But the day she met Julie she knew this was different. “I knew she was caring because of her smile,” she says.  Almost three years later Cassidy claims that, because of Julie, she has learned to laugh more, to cook and bake cupcakes, and to believe in herself.

It’s very clear that Cassidy and Julie like to cook together.  Since the start of their relationship, Julie has helped Cassidy become much more responsible for her nutrition and reach her personal weight goals.  On trips to the grocery store, Julie quizzes Cassidy about the content of the foods they are selecting.  Are they starches or proteins? Sugars, fats, or carbohydrates?  How will they help Cassidy fuel her day and maintain her health?   In addition to awareness of nutrition, Cassidy and Julie enjoy exercising together, and on this occasion are hiking in Umstead Park for the first time. “Because of Cassidy, I do things I wouldn’t typically do,” Julie reports.

In addition to enjoying Hairspray at the DPAC, Cassidy and Julie share the Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Night Ball as another of their favorite memories together.  Cassidy was asked to speak at the Ball, sharing her story with many BBBST friends and supporters.  “I would never have had the courage or confidence to speak in front of all those people,” Cassidy states.  But her relationship with Julie has helped her grow both confidence and the necessary skills to speak publically.  This confidence and the impact of their relationship also evidenced itself as Cassidy now takes on roles in her school plays. 

Reflecting on their relationship (her second as a mentor), Julie wishes everyone would step up and be a Big. “There are a thousand reasons people give not to mentor, but there are a million reasons to be a Big,” she says.  The impact of volunteers and supporters will leave its mark on over 1,000 children in the Triangle this year, but still hundreds are on our waiting list hoping to be matched with a caring person like Julie.  Their sister-like relationship allows Julie to share her life and try new things while experiencing the joy of watching Cassidy grow and learn.  Julie is convinced that, “If people knew how much it would change their life, they would leap at the opportunity to become a Big!”


About bbbstriangle

For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 14, in Wake, Durham and Orange counties. We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
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