“She helped me realize and understand that people will accept me unapologetically, that I am strong and have valuable opinions. Where before I didn’t have a voice, Blair showed me the confidence I had to be who I am.”
Among other personal hardships, Emma was struggling with her schoolwork at the start of high school. At 14, Emma decided to take matters into her own hands and request some form of support from her counsellor, who then referred her to the Study Buddy program. Soon, she was matched with her Big Sister, Blair.
Emma was at first nervous to meet with Blair, and both were unsure of how the match would go. Blair worried about whether she would be able to relate to a child that experienced adversities that she hadn’t, and Emma hadn’t expected to get along with Blair as well as she did.
Blair decided to become a Study Buddy because its activity – namely, schoolwork – was specified from the outset and gave the match a particular direction. But Blair’s and Emma’s chemistry turned Blair into so much more than a tutor. Very quickly, the match went from academic goal setting to personal support. “She saw me struggle and was patient enough to keep up with me,” Emma said. “I can confidently say that I would not be here today if it wasn’t for her; she added the stability I needed to look forward to. I benefited in a very deep way from adding her to my life.”
Like Emma, Blair also feels that she has gained a great deal from the pair’s Study Buddy Match and has even been inspired to become a counsellor since matching with Emma: “I learned a lot from Emma; her perspective on life was not something I could’ve relied on anywhere else,” she claimed. “I think mentoring her has benefited me in a multitude of little ways, but the biggest takeaway from this experience is that the more you make an effort to learn from people, the more you can understand them.”
Blair and Emma agree that one of the strongest moments of their match – where all their work had culminated – was at Emma’s high school graduation. Blair recalls being proud of her Little Study Buddy walk on stage and celebrating where their four years had taken them. Both recall being filled with emotion and joy, and are committed to staying in each other’s lives today.
Today, Emma is confident and thriving in part thanks to Blair. “She helped me realize and understand that people will accept me unapologetically, that I am strong and have valuable opinions. Where before I didn’t have a voice, Blair showed me the confidence I had to be who I am.”