Mentee Robyn and Mentor Rebecca uncovered the meaning of mentorship and, in turn, created an unbreakable bond and relationship that will last for years to come.
A few years ago, when people would ask Robyn if she had siblings, she would say she had one brother. Today, when we ask Robyn about her siblings, she proudly mentions her Big Sister as well. From fun activities like arts and crafts, baking, and cooking, Robyn and her mentor grew up together and now bond over coffee dates, long conversations, and drives around town.
We all know that being a teenager is tough. In high school, Mentor Rebecca used to struggle with bullying and fitting in with her peers. She recalls a time in her life when she wished she had someone to lean on for support and who would understand what she was going through. Life would have been a little easier for Rebecca if she had a strong adult pillar to help her navigate. Through perseverance, she was able to overcome those challenges herself. However, as she grew up, she always wanted to work with youth. What made Rebecca want to become a mentor with Big Sisters specifically was the direct one-to-one relationship the Big Sisters program had with a youth. So, in 2017, she took the next step and applied to become a Big in the Big Sisters Mentoring Program.
Soon after, the mentor met Little Robyn, who seemed like a younger version of herself. In high school, Mentee Robyn struggled to navigate the teenage world. She dealt with bullying, internal insecurities, and difficulty making friends. These challenges led to Robyn’s mom looking into Big Sisters and introducing Robyn to the Big Sisters mentoring program at the age of 14. Little did Robyn’s mom know that a 1-year mentorship relationship would turn into a match that will last a lifetime.
Rebecca had few expectations coming into the Big Sisters program as a mentor, but those expectations were beyond what she could’ve ever imagined. She never thought a one-way learning relationship, taught by a mentor to a mentee, would become a relationship filled with unconditional love and a sisterly bond. Soon, the two became inseparable, and Rebecca quickly became a figure even Robyn’s family grew to love.
Beyond the typical mentor and mentee relationship, the two became best friends, sometimes forgetting they weren’t real sisters. Through the carefully crafted efforts of Big Sisters’ caseworkers, the two were a perfect match. Rebecca’s experiences in her teenage years ultimately made her precisely what Robyn needed while growing up. Over the past four years, the two have shared some amazing memories, from baking mistakes and mishaps to graduation parties. But when asked about some of their favorite memories, Rebecca replied, “all of them have been impactful, and every time we spend time with each other is always meaningful.”
Rebecca’s journey has been “incredibly fulfilling” because she got to contribute to someone’s life in such a positive way. Rebecca expressed that not only has she been able to mentor Robyn, but it’s also been wonderful to learn from her.
“It’s like holding up a mirror to your life experiences and seeing [them] reflected in someone else as well… so often, people think that it’s unidirectional mentorship, but it’s not, and I think people need to let go of that idea. It’s a two-way street,” Mentor Rebecca said.
Reflecting on their relationship today, Rebecca is beyond proud of the exponential growth she has seen in Robyn, especially in her confidence and positivity. Mentee Robyn advocates for this program to her family and peers for its lasting impact on her life and for allowing her to meet her best friend and sister. The long-time mentee hopes to become a mentor in the future so she can be a pillar for someone the way Rebecca was there for her.
In this match, Rebecca got the opportunity to become the mentor she always wished she had, and now Robyn can give back that relationship to youth in her community one day. Supporting Big Sisters is supporting youth in your community to find their fullest potential.