In her comments below, Megan talks about how her Big helped her through the difficult times of her life and how Bigs are an important part of a child’s support structure.
Hello, My name is Megan Galloway, and I am a graduate from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I want to start by talking about how truly influential my Big Sister, Ann Geers, has been for me.
When I entered into this program, I was 9 years old and a little scared to meet someone I’d never met before who was just supposed to be my friend right out of the gate. At 9, I was a very shy, nervous kid that was scared of almost everyone. I did not think I could be set up with someone through a program and that we would be friends.
Well, I went to the first meeting, and Ann was very kind and genuinely tried to connect with me. Over time, I eventually became closer to Ann as we had our weekly meetings. She introduced me to her horses, and I honestly thought they were going to eat me! They were so huge and I was terrified. She showed me how to brush them, and give them a bath, and feed them. She taught me how to clean their shoes, which required me to get very close to them and she was always right beside me in case I got scared.
Through this activity, I learned a lot of responsibility, and I learned not to be afraid of some really big things. Without realizing it, she became the person I talked to when I had an issue, one of the most influential role models I’ve ever had, and overall, she became my friend.
Having her by my side as I went through school has helped me in so many ways. From helping me with my homework to helping me with college applications, Ann has always supported my academic growth. Her family has always been immensely kind and welcoming as well; I’ve gone on huge trips with them. These life-changing trips include ziplining, and even going to St. Louis! Can you believe that?
I was so excited that I had a friend and someone to talk to. Through Ann and her family, I’ve had opportunities that little 9-year-old me had never even dreamed of. Ann has been my friend, and my supporter for many years, and even now that I’m a “graduate” of Big Brothers Big Sisters, I know Ann is a friend I will have for many years to come. As a Big Brothers Big Sisters graduate, I’m also a new graduate from Haywood Early College and Haywood Community College.
Ann and I discovered this program in my town called “Early College,” and I wanted to apply but I was a little skeptical at first. I doubted myself and my academic ability. I asked myself “what if I don’t get in?”, “what if I don’t fit in?” Ann reassured me and pushed me to apply. Thanks to that decision and her support, I sat down with her and wrote my essay to apply. I ended up getting in and fitting in, and now I am 18 years old and I have my High School Diploma, and my Associates in Science.
Now that I have high school behind me, I’m moving to Wilmington in August to enter University of North Carolina at Wilmington as a junior, and I am going to pursue my dream of becoming a Marine Biologist. I made it.
There were many times in my journey that were difficult, I had many roadblocks and speed bumps, but I made it. I know that things can be hard sometimes, but I also know that with the right attitude and spirit, you can get wherever you want to go. If you want to be a doctor, or a zookeeper, or anything in between, I am living proof that you can get there. Follow your hopes and dreams, and work for them and it will all work out.
Remember that it is always important to hold people you care about close. Build a support group of adults you trust, so that if you need something you can reach out to them and get the help you need.
Ann was and still is a huge part of my support group. If I hadn’t been a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, I feel like I would be a little lost today. College is scary, but Ann has been beside me to walk me through it. I have grown physically and academically and personally through my participation in this program, and I am immensely thankful for the opportunity to share my story with you all.
And to all the Littles out there, you have so many big things ahead of you. Your Bigs are remarkably proud of you, and I am proud of you. I am proud of you because I have been where you are now. I have been scared, and I have felt alone. But I have also experienced joy and accomplishment. I know that I am surrounded by people who love and care about me, and I know that you are too.
Don’t ever give up on your dreams, and don’t ever stop dreaming. There is always a way to achieve your goals, and once you achieve one, set another. Become a role model for those around you, and always offer to help. You are a part of something amazing, and I know that each and every one of you will grow up to change the world.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an amazing program to help you achieve your goals, just like it helped me. Thank you.