Why Big Sister Randi Believes in the Power of Mentoring

At Big Sisters, we believe that mentoring matters. Hearing from our matches that they believe in this impact too demonstrates that it’s not just a slogan, it’s true. Here’s why Big Sister Randi—who has been matched with her Little for six years—believes in the power of mentorship.

1. Why did you want to become a Big?

I knew I wanted to get involved in a volunteer program, but ultimately chose Big Sisters because of the direct impact you have on a girl’s life. You will change her life forever, just by being there for her and having fun together. It’s not about money that you donate or fundraisers, but the direct impact and influence to change one girl’s life. What a powerful opportunity.

2. Tell me about your match. What do you do together?

We mostly just hang out at my apartment and make lunch or dinner or bake. Once in a while we’ll do a craft or go see a movie. We’ve done a bunch of the Big Sisters activities and parties, and had the chance to try some amazing things—horseback riding, kayaking, sailing, and rock climbing—but regardless of all that, my Little’s favourite activity has always been, and remains to be, just hanging out at my house, “doing nothing.”

3. What is your favourite thing about your Little?

Definitely her sense of humour and kindness. Her generosity is truly an inspiration to me. Even as a tiny, shy nine-year-old, my Little Sister has had this amazingly dry and sarcastic sense of humour. It is simply the best.

4. What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned about yourselves in your match?

Learning that when it comes to being there for a kid, it’s not always quality over quantity. It is quantity and consistency that they need. She didn’t need me to always have a big outing or activity planned, she just simply needed me to pay attention to her, listen to her, talk to her, be silly with her… just be with her, period.

5. What is your favourite memory together?

I don’t necessarily have a favourite memory, but, our favourite parts of our hang outs are usually the “nothing parts”—our drive, our bus ride, just chatting, being silly. That sister level of comfort feels really nice and I’d say that started to set in around the two-year mark for us.

6. How have you grown as a result of your mentorship?

My mentorship has helped me remember what it’s like to be a teenager, and feel more empathetic towards that demographic. It can be easy to forget how stressful that time was, even though looking back as an adult we can think “no responsibilities, life was a breeze.” But EVERYTHING is a big deal when you are a teenager, and it’s exhausting.

8. What struggles have you overcome together?

Our first year together was the hardest. She would cry every time I dropped her off, and it would break my heart. We both had to overcome the fear of our relationship ending. I would worry that her mom would want to end our match with me dropping her off in tears every week. We had to learn that we both wanted the very best for her, and trust each other that we were doing that. And my Little had to learn that she could trust me to return each week.

9. Why should people volunteer for Big Sisters?

The absolute, direct impact you have on changing someone’s life is why you should volunteer. And, the butterfly effect from changing just that one girl’s life.

10. What impact does a donation to Big Sisters have on your community?

If a donation means another match gets to be made, that’s another girl who will feel supported, confident, and happy. And, that’s a girl who can in turn have that influence on her friends, family, and children and teens she might work with in the future. By even just changing one girl’s life, the benefits are exponential.