A Little’s future driven by her Big Sister’s
Some kids have to grow up faster than others. Theresa was one of them.
Her childhood was spent in and out of foster care, Theresa acted as the parent figure for her own little sister.
Eventually, a family friend, she and her sister consider their ‘grandmother’, took them in her home. While she was able to provide Theresa and her sister with food and shelter, Theresa’s grandmother knew minimal English and could not talk to Theresa about everything that was going on in her life. Theresa’s social worker observed how Theresa was looking after her younger sister, trying to stay afloat in her own life, and lacking a stable source of adult guidance and care. As a result, her social worker decided Theresa could benefit from having a Big Sister that she could talk to and rely on.
At the same time, Rosemary was finishing nursing school and wanted to add something meaningful to her life. Rosemary is the youngest of four kids and adored her older sisters. She soon realized she could give back and be for a young girl what her older sisters were for her.
Rosemary’s and Theresa’s paths crossed when they both got involved with Big Sisters. The two were matched and quickly connected. Rosemary always looked forward to meeting with Theresa, and the match helped her feel grounded after transitioning from university to her job as a nurse.
When Theresa was in grade nine, Rosemary took her to BC Children’s Hospital for “take your kid to work day.” In giving Theresa the opportunity to shadow multiple people, Rosemary opened up a world of possibilities for her: Theresa realized that, like Rosemary, she wanted to work at BC Children’s Hospital when she finished school.
Rosemary frequently describes Theresa as someone who is driven and resilient. Despite all Theresa has been through, she continues to set goals for herself and accomplish them with Rosemary by her side.
Theresa now works at the hospital as a clerk, and gets to share a workplace with her Big Sister. Rosemary proudly watches, in real time, how Theresa has grown and continues to grow from a quiet, struggling girl to a passionate, driven young woman.
Theresa and Rosemary remain as close as sisters could be. Today, Rosemary has a child and is being helped through early motherhood by Theresa, who had practically raised her little sister herself. Theresa and Rosemary have both gained a priceless sisterhood from each other. They have stood by each other through life’s challenges, and provided each other with care and fulfillment.
One does not choose the circumstances they are born into, and many, like Theresa, face additional challenges and barriers to success. That has not stopped Theresa from achieving her goals, nor has it deterred dedicated volunteers like Rosemary from stepping up and being there for those that need them most.
Theresa and Rosemary show us all the meaning of resilience and the power of mentorship for both the mentor and mentee. They are an inspiration to us all!