Each semester, AmeriCorps’ Project MARS collects ‘Great Stories’ from each of our members—entries where they reflect on their experiences mentoring in the classroom and the progress that they see students making. This month’s story comes from Tracy Allen.
I was at home one night worrying about not having a Big for a little girl in third grade. The little girl, DD, was living with her grandparents because her mother was in the hospital waiting for a liver transplant.
I had tried the school Facebook page and called local churches, begging for volunteers, but struck out all the way around. I started telling my family that I was really worried about this little girl. My daughter Lauren said that she thought she might like being a Big.
She asked what she was going to have to do, and I explained that all she needed to do was be a friend to her. Let her talk and just listen to her.
They met the next week, and you could just see it in DD’s eyes. She was so excited to meet Lauren. We did some paperwork, and then they went to the conference room to play a game. They laughed and talked and had a great visit. Everyone in the office loves to hear the laughter when Lauren comes to visit.
Then came January, Lauren lost her grandfather – my father – and DD lost her mother. Lauren missed two visits, and when she came back, DD came into the room for their visit and asked Lauren if she knew that her mother had died. Lauren was able to tell her about her grandfather. They shared stories, and then moved on and were able to play games.
They have a great connection! On Valentine’s Day, DD’s teacher called Lauren and told her DD didn’t have valentines. Lauren stopped and picked up a box of cards and a stuffed animal. They spent their time filling out her cards. She was very happy to have valentines like the rest of her class. Lauren even went back to her classroom with her and helped her hand out her cards. She introduced Lauren as her Big Sister. This has been so rewarding to Lauren that now she has decided that she would enjoy being an AmeriCorps volunteer.