By Kerry Alsheimer, Community Relations Coordinator, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County
“Oh hey, Marie,” a young girl’s voice exclaims over a muffled conference call on a Monday afternoon. “We made the volleyball playoffs!”
Cheers of “Woo!” and “Yay!” immediately follow. Our Volleyball champ here is Prynces, an 11-year-old Little Sister. She’s sharing the good news with her Big Sister, Marie.
Marie and Prynces have been matched for three years. The two of them have enjoyed checking out the frozen yogurt joints that have been popping up all over town, swimming in the pool at Prynces’ house in the summer, and skiing in the winter. They also enjoy attending Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County (BBBSEC) events and Sabres games.
When I asked Prynces if she was really into sports, she responded that she plays lacrosse, baseball, softball, boxing and, of course, volleyball. It’s becoming increasingly clear that this kid is an all-star.
Prynces says that her favorite thing about Big Sister Marie is her smile and her laugh, and that she is an honest person and always happy. Marie says she adores Little Sister Prynces’ optimistic personality, ability to make friends wherever she goes, and how smart she is – “she can hold a conversation with my parents or anybody!”
Marie and Prynces have both grown in various ways since being matched in through BBBSEC. Prynces says that she finds it much easier to trust people, and enjoys meeting new people and taking advantage of new opportunities. Marie has been a solid, positive influence in Prynces’ life and has introduced her to a lot of new things.
Marie recalls a time when she and Prynces took a ride in Marie’s mom’s convertible; how excited Prynces was to be in a convertible for the first time, and how appreciative she was for the opportunity. This has really inspired Marie to also be happy with the small joys of life.
Marie and Prynces are matched in BBBSEC’s Community-Based Mentoring program. They get together just a few times per month for a couple hours at a time, and are able to enjoy many free and low-cost activities together. They are able to attend Sabres games thanks to tickets that are generously donated to our organization, and they even found a spot in South Wales to ski for free!
You don’t have to be in the same room as Marie and Prynces to see the incredible bond they have. Seeing two people who may not have otherwise met develop such a great friendship is what makes the work we do at BBBSEC totally worth it and then some.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Community-Based Mentor, or find other ways to support Bigs and Littles like Marie and Prynces, please call BBBSEC’s Community Relations Department at (716) 873-5833 ext. 240. We are happy to answer any questions you have!