Ana and Ina have been matched since July of 2015 and as they approach their 3 year anniversary, they’ve enjoyed reminiscing and sharing their story. When asked to talk about favorite memories or impactful moments, it was easy for Ina and Anna to find the words.
Little Sister Anna described one of her favorite “gifts” from her Big Sister; her first journal. Ina was traveling and knew that she would be away and unable to see Anna for a while, so Ina gave her the journal and instructed her to write down all her thoughts and prayers in it. Ina encouraged Anna to be open and write anything that she wanted. Anna expressed, “It was a way for me to still feel close to Ina while she was gone.” The journal was a physical gift to Anna, but through that journal Anna was given the gift of empowerment to be open with her feelings and thoughts. Anna said she had never written down her feelings before, but when she started to do so, she really liked it. Rose, Anna’s mother, says Anna is now writing every chance that she gets (in the journal, at home, and at school). Anna simply stated, “Ina is why I love to read and write!”
Big Sister Ina remembers the day she decided to volunteer. “My Pastor was preaching about the importance of giving back the gifts God has given us. I wanted to share my time, experience, adventures with a “little”, to guide her where I have already explored, to give her the advice that might make her day better and to be there for her when she needs a shoulder to cry on, to be a “big sister.” From that day forward, Ina said her time with Anna has been everything she hoped for and more. Every time they are together it’s amazing, but one experience stands out to Ina. They were hiking and both of them forgot water bottles in the car. Anna was very thirsty and she wanted to turn back, but Ina did not want to as they were so close to the top. Ina told Anna, “God will provide water when we get to the top”. Ina wanted to accomplish this hike with Anna and show her the importance of not to giving up until the task was done. After a long hike they reached the top, Anna took a deep breath, enjoyed the scenery and asked, “Ina, where is water?” Ina was getting very nervous to break the news that they may not have any. A stranger overheard them, gave a new water bottle to Anna and told her to enjoy it. Anna looked at Ina and said “God sure provided water for us!” Most matches are able to find the one special thing that they have in common that serves as a foundation for their relationship. For Ina and Anna, it has been their growing faith. Ina believes she has received a gift from Anna as well; the gift of finding joy in the small things, opportunities to smile more, and learning that it is ok to be a goof ball sometimes. “Every time I am with Anna, I feel impacted by her. She is so grateful, appreciative, kind and such a sweet girl.”
Ina’s advice to any new Big: “Never to give up on your “little.” They shine through after they start trusting you. You will become their best friend, their mentor, and sometimes the only one person they can depend on.”
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.