Now, I am a Big Sister again. This time, it is to someone I only met this week and whom I am just getting to know.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am finally participating in the Big Brother/Big Sister Programme, with the Heroes Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago. I am matched with a Little through the Foundation's new Corporate Workplace Mentoring model, which facilitates the recruitment of Bigs from one organisation and brings the Bigs and Littles together in the workplace, albeit in a non-stifling, casual setting. It can be really hard for corporate types to make time to volunteer. Personally, my work days start when I open my eyes at 3am and they end when I get home some 16 hours later. My weekends can often be a rush, so carving out the time at work is perfect for me. For those of you out there, who want to give back but struggle with being available and committed, this could work for you.
I was soooooo excited about this, I cannot tell you. I have always wanted to participate in this programme after hearing of the heartwarming and fulfilling experiences from others who were part of similar programmes overseas. I was a teenager once, believe it or not, and remember some of the angst, the confusion, the pressure of transitioning from girlhood to womanhood. I had the support of family and at school, we also had the support of our 8-hour mothers - our teachers. But there was nothing quite as powerful as having someone who looked like me, sounded like me and who went through the same trials and joys as I did, reach out and offer words of support and advice - not as a teacher or a priest, but as a friend.
So being a Big Sister is my way of paying it forward to a young woman who is just where I was at that age - trying to find her own space in the world. I am thankful for all the influences I have had in my own life and having never had a little sister, I was really excited about being offered this great opportunity.
I am not surprised by that because the process to become a Big Sister is a rigorous one. Besides all the screening to ensure you are not a felon, there is a deep dive interview where the coordinators get to REALLY know you so they can match you with the Little most suited to your personality. The Little also undergoes this deep dive because the matching is so important.
In the end, I have a new Little Sister who is smart and lovely and talented and who I am really excited to get to know. My Little and I will be matched for about a year and will see each other twice a month. So far, she seems to like me and I like her, so cheers to that!
All the Big Sisters at work are excited and so are our Littles. Nothing beats volunteering, in a way that is meaningful to you. Whether it is reading to the elderly, helping a young person in life, building homes or helping an NGO with their accounting, their marketing or governance, or in whatever your professional area of expertise may be - there is nothing quite like paying it forward. Looking forward to a great year!
Learn more about the Heroes Foundation
Learn more about the Foundation's BBBS Programme
Follow them on Facebook
Read more about their Corporate Workplace Mentoring