Eve was matched with me through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County. She’s 11 years old, and brilliant, beautiful, funny, creative, and light years ahead of the game, and I’m so amazed and inspired by her courage and her insight! I could go on, and on. I’m never sure who get’s more out of this…
Oddly, I have no trouble finding the words to describe how powerful our relationship is when I’m typing it (I’m a writer — writing is my first language), but when the cameras were rolling, I found my self…speechless.
As luck would have it, I’m a JenningsWire blogger, blessed with the space and grace to follow up, share, and ultimately, find my voice and express how passionately I feel about the subject of mentorship.
The PSA was for a campaign coming up for Big Brothers Big Sisters REUNITE NOW, in a global effort to raise awareness, welcome new faces, and to #FindLisa — my Big Sister from 1987. I was 13 years old.
Lisa was the one who inspired me to be a big sister when I grew up. She showed me what unconditional love looked like, and she loved me for exactly who I was, during a time in my life when I felt most unlovable.
Group home and foster care is often a cold and dark place to be.
I know, because, before I entered my teens, I entered the foster care system. I felt like a throw-a-way kid. I wondered what was wrong with me that would make my parents make the choices they did, and I wondered what I had to be, do, or say to be loved and accepted in this world.
I felt sure that if my own family didn’t love me or want me, neither would anyone else.
And then, there was Lisa.
She was always genuinely happy to see me; she knew my story, and knew where I came from, and saw me at my lowest, saddest point, and she loved me anyway, just the way I was, for who I was. She saw the best in me, warmly welcomed me into her life, and her home, and most importantly, into her heart. She took me to Venice Beach, looked forward to reading my new poems, heard my dreams, kept me secrets…I was safe with her.
Shortly before 8th grade graduation, when every other girl seemed to have a dress to wear, I had a $15 per month clothing allowance from the state of California. I wasn’t sure I’d have anyone in the audience, much less anything to wear, and I can still remember feeling devastated.
I also remember Lisa asking me to describe the dress of my dreams — pink with straps, a bow on the back, a full skirt that met my knees…It would be beautiful.
And it was! When she came to visit again, she showed up with exactly that dress. She had spent a week, sewing my dream, and creating a lasting, lifelong memory of selfless giving, and the gift of true love.
I will #FindLisa.
Until then, I will thank her by passing on her love, generosity, warmth and compassionate embrace. I’ll share her curiosity, sense of adventure, whimsical nature, and gentle grace with my Little Sister, with my own children, and with every other child I may be blessed to meet, and I’ll share two hours a week of my life with a Little who needs me, because know enough by now to know that we’re better, together.
Just 5 of 5000 Reasons To Mentor A Child
1. Everybody wins. As a mentor, you are both the teacher, and the student. Usually, you’re the student.
2. You’ll decrease his or her chances of teen pregnancy, and improve his or her interpersonal relationships through your healthy example and solid leadership.
3. A child with a mentor is less likely to initiate violence, or participate in gang activity. We all need somebody to love and be loved by. As a mentor, you’re that somebody!
4. Children and teens with mentors are more likely to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
5. There is no more powerful way to make a lasting positive impact on the future of humanity, than to empower and strengthen the spirit of a child.
Someone, somewhere, is waiting for you.
To learn more, visit www.bbsvc.org.
Read more posts by Elle Febbo. Elle is a blogger for JenningsWire.
JenningsWire.com is created by National Publicity Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book marketing strategies to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major top city radio talk shows that broadcast to the heart of the market, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers.