It was 1985 when Little Sister Lora came to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado. At the age of 12, she had had a tough start to life. Her father was out of the picture and she was being raised by her single mother. On her own, living in a rough neighborhood, and with two young girls counting on her, Lora’s mother needed support. That’s when she contacted Big Sisters and Lora was matched with Brickette.
They met at Lora’s house for the first time and the connection was instant. “It was just natural,” says Brickette. “There was no awkwardness. The staff who made the match could not have done a better job.” They sat at Lora’s kitchen table, talked with Lora’s mother, and then were off. Over the next 30 years they did a lot of activities together, but it didn’t ever matter what they did, as long as they were together. One of the most memorable experiences for Lora was when she visited Brickette’s house for the first time. “It was so different from my life,” remembers Lora. “There were no worries or fear. There was protection. There was hope. I could just breath, relax, be a kid, be Lora, be happy.”
Brickette says her goal was to show Lora that life could be different. “I never tried to be her best friend or her mother. I was going to be a good friend and I was going to be dependable. I wanted to show Lora what friendship and family life could be like. Sometime [a child’s] view is narrow and Big Brothers Big Sisters helps expand that.” For Lora, time with Brickette was an escape. “This program saved my life,” she says, “Without it I would have followed the path and example of those around me. I had negative self-esteem and Brickette rescued me from a negative place inside and out. She pulled out the best in me. This program gave me self-esteem, self-worth, and a desire to give to those around me.”
Now 30 years later, Brickette and Lora are still in contact and grateful to have each other in their lives. “She humbled me and showed me another side of life,” acknowledged Brickette. “There are three pivotal moments in my life: the day I married my husband, the day I had my sons, and the day I met Lora.” Lora is now married and a mother as well. She credits Brickette and Big Brothers Big Sisters with her success. “I was able to see that there are families that love each other; that you can have children and give them good lives.”
In 2018, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado is turning 100 years old and celebrating 100 years of mentoring in Colorado! We will be sharing 100 stories to commemorate our 100 years of history. These stories will highlight the value and importance of mentoring in the lives of current and alumni Littles, Bigs, families, and community partners. Check out our blog each week to view the next story in the series. If you have a story you would like to share, please visit our story collection portal at: https://form.jotform.com/73046559388166