Become a Big: Meet Denise and Skyy

Skyy and Denise wearing Go Kart Helmets
Little Skyy and Big Denise after racing each other at the go-kart tracks*

You can make a BIG impact by mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Being a Big means playing an invaluable role in the lives of youth. But after Big Denise matched with Little Skyy, she learned that her Little taught her valuable lessons on how to grow as a person.

The answers shared by these Bigs have not been edited and are proof of the genuine and important relationships being created in the community.

Little’s Age 13 years old
Match Length 4.5 years

Why did you become a Big? How did you first hear about BBBS?

I became a Big because I didn’t have children of my own, but wanted to make a big impact on the next generation. Being a mentor allows me to be a significant positive in a child’s life. I had heard of BBBS throughout my life, so I just Googled them one day and the rest is history!

What do you feel your responsibilities as a Big are?

My responsibilities are to support my Little and be a trusted adult she can turn to. She can talk to me in a way she can’t talk to her mother, so I play an important role. I also see sharing positive values of being trustworthy, being kind and working hard as part of my job as a Big.

Do you have a set day or time you go see your Little?

Before COVID, we would see each other on weekend afternoons for an activity. Since COVID, we have been FaceTiming on weeknights.

Skyy and Denise posing for picture, Skyy holding a sign that says "We Escaped"
Little Skyy and Big Denise after solving the puzzles and escaping the escape room*

Where are typical places you and your Little go on a match outing? Any new routines with the shift to virtual and social distancing?

Before COVID, almost all of our activities would involve a meal because both of us enjoy food! We would also go the YMCA to use the climbing wall or workout. Additionally, we’ve visited quite a few historical sites throughout Richmond, gone to movies, visited a driving range and gone go-karting!

How has being a Big impacted you?

Being a Big has been so much fun! I’ve gotten to experience so many things through the eyes of a child and that has made me appreciate the little things. I also have had to learn to be less selfish and more patient. As a single person who lives alone, I’m used to getting my own way on just about everything. Having a Little means I have to take her wants and needs into consideration when making decisions. It has been a great way for me to grow.

Do you have a favorite story about your Little that you will always remember?

My favorite story about my Little is how we reunited! We were originally matched in the school-based program. My Little switched schools to a school without the program, so our match ended. A few months later, she switched back to a school with the program. She saw Bigs visiting their Littles during the school day, so she took it upon herself to tell her guidance counselor that she had a Big that she wanted to come visit her! It warmed my heart that she was so eager to have me back in her life. We’ve been together ever since and have successfully transitioned to the community-based program!

*Photos taken prior to COVID19. As of December 1, 2020; BBBS strongly advises matches to meet virtually.

Being a Big is an impactful commitment that you can start today. Are you ready to be a Big? To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit its website or social channels (FacebookTwitter). If you are interested in becoming a Big, visit the Be a Big page to start your journey as well as find information on the upcoming National Mentoring Month campaign.

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