At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential – both as individuals and citizens. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future.
Start Talking is a place where we want to raise awareness of key issues that face today’s youth. We will sometimes advocate, sometimes educate, sometimes inform, sometimes ask questions and always invite discussion about the pressing concerns that involve the younger generations of today.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Twenty-Nine Years of Friendship and Counting

By Trish Quan

I met my Big Sister, Joyanne, when I was twelve years old. I lived with my mom, my younger sister, and my brother. Although there was little money to pay for out-of-school activities, my mom was very resourceful. In the spring of 1983, she approached me with the idea of becoming a Little Sister. At first I didn’t like the idea. I was confident that I didn’t need any special attention. I was the big sister, after all.

Despite my misgivings, I decided to give it a try. I liked Joyanne right away. Our first outing was a trip to buy the ingredients to make pizza. Joyanne always let me take the lead and decide the flow of our day. She made a point of asking me what I liked to do. We have had many excellent adventures, such as kayaking, hiking, sailing, seeing plays, watching movies, shopping, and trips to Seattle and Victoria. I am often reminded of a quote from Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Joyanne made me feel special.

As a Big Sister, Joyanne embodied qualities that are so important for young women. I was the first one in my family to graduate high school and continue on to post-secondary education. Joyanne helped me see the possibilities if I stayed in school.

In October 1991, at the age of forty, my mom was killed in a car accident. Joyanne, just days away from delivering her second child, stood by me in those darkest days. My mom kept me grounded. When she died, I lost my compass and began to flounder. Joyanne’s care and mentorship got me through it. My mother’s death has changed me indescribably, but I’m a big believer in resilience. I was able to continue my life in the face of so much pain, but without Joyanne’s support, it would have been a much more difficult task.

The foundation of friendship Joyanne and I built through Big Sisters is the foundation I stand upon as a grown woman. My Big Sister is a key person in my life. I look up to her, want to learn from her, and continue to hope and dream with her.

Ours is a tale of twenty-nine years of friendship and counting.

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