When Cori chose to become a mentor with Big Sisters, it was with the intention of being a role model for a Little Sister. “I thought that having a mentor when I was growing up could have made a huge difference.”
Reflecting on her own childhood, which was challenged with dysfunctional family dynamics, Cori states that she and her Little Sister, Tianna, are incredibly well matched, likely because they had similar childhoods.
Despite initial nervousness, Cori and Tianna’s relationship has blossomed into an affectionate, compassionate and fun-filled friendship. “We were both nervous at first. I took a photo of us on our first day together and you can tell from our body language that we were both very timid, the affection wasn’t there yet; but now we’re at the point where we can say we love each other and give bear hugs — but it took time.”
After more than two years of being matched, Cori can see the transformations in Tianna. “I’ve noticed that Tianna likes school a lot more, she likes her teacher, and is in Tai Kwon Do classes. I definitely see positive changes.” Cori also notes that Tianna became more outgoing and dramatic as time passed. “She loves to dance, has a glowing personality and will be an amazing drama student one day.”
Tianna agrees that being a Little Sister is fun because of the activities she and Cori do, and the time they spend together. “Cori is really nice. She makes a lot of jokes about everything and likes to laugh a lot.”
Matched since January 2010, the pair usually get together on a Saturday or Sunday and do activities ranging from baking, to making pizza and ice cream, to painting their nails.
Both share a favourite memory from over a year ago when they were chosen to represent Big Sisters in a photo shoot for COBS Bread. On the day the photos went up in the bakeries, they visited several locations and were given free treats from the management. Says Cori, “At one point Tianna started laughing about something, and I thought, I don’t think I could love this child any more than I do right at this moment.”
Tianna is very enthusiastic about her appreciation for the relationship, saying, “Cori’s taught me so many things, and she’s made me a nicer person because she’s nice.”
Cori also believes the experience has been transformative for her, saying, “Tianna brings so much joy to my life. I can see both of us blossoming and growing, and I hope to always be a part of her life.”