Each year, a new group of Littles reach the end of their high school senior year. Many of them have turned eighteen, some are moving on to higher education and—for most—their sometimes decade-long match with their Big comes to an end, and a new chapter begins.
Every May, Big Brothers Big Sisters honors such an occasion with our Littles Recognition Dinner where regional matches are invited to share a meal, view a slide show, connect, reminisce and celebrate their many accomplishments.
With a mentor in their lives, BBBS Littles are exposed to so many new experiences and opportunities, and they’re provided with a consistent and long-term relationship that enriches and supports them as they grow. We know that with the support of their mentor, Littles improve academically, in self-confidence and in avoiding risky behaviors—but beyond that, in the long-run what is REALLY made possible in the lives of these mentees and what they bring to their communities as a result of these mentoring relationships? What are the long term outcomes in the life of a child who has the support of someone who truly believes in them and what they are capable of? With the encouragement to believe in themselves and their own potential—there is no way of quantifying the ultimate outcomes in the lives of Little Brothers and Sisters—but we know that they are BIG.
The Littles Recognition Dinner is an occasion that BBBS creates to bring the community together to honor and acknowledge not only the graduating Littles for all of the amazing progress they’ve made, but to also celebrate and recognize ALL of our Littles for who they are, what they are up to, and the amazing things they are capable of.
Last Thursday, May 25, we gathered at Asheville High School for the 2017 Littles Recognition Dinner, celebrating and recognizing five graduating Littles and over fifty other Littles for their many strengths.
“I am grateful that Big Brothers Big Sisters brought me and my Big Sister Nikki together,”said graduating Little Samara during her speech. Samara’s eleven year match with her Big Sister Nikki will be completing at the end of the school year.
” I wouldn’t have met this person—who is just like me—without this program. I have such a connection with her. What I’m also grateful for is how we built our relationship— how close we are. We just have that bond that nobody can break.”
Over the course of the evening, program directors and match support specialists from four of BBBS WNC’s ten branches recognized sixty of our program’s Littles and presented them with certificates to take home.
Making the A Honor Roll; making the A/B Honor Roll; trying new things; excelling at sports; participating in the church choir; learning the violin; reading 100 books this year; overcoming significant life challenges; community service; adventurousness; courage; maintaining an open mind; GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL! All of these things were among the diversity of talents, efforts, qualities and accomplishments of this amazing group of Little Brothers and Sisters. Congratulations again to all of them!
“When I first became a big sister, I thought I was going to just be helping a little girl out,” said Big Sister Denise of Henderson County, as she began a brief speech looking back on her seven year relationship with her —now graduating—Little Sister Tatum. “But I’ve received so much more from it, than I think she probably did—and I still am,” she said.
“I watched that little girl grow into an outgoing, compassionate, goal-oriented young lady. She became a cheerleader at school and was co-captain of her school cheer squad. We’ve laughed together, been sad together. We’ve talked about a lot of different things including problems at home and school, hopes for the future, getting a driver’s license and—yes—even boys. I was able to be with her when she got her learners permit and her drivers license and I was able to see her cheer, and even sing at church. We’ve developed a friendship that I hope continues for many years to come and I am thankful to have been a part of her life.”
Denise’s graduating Little Sister Tatum—who could not make the occasion because of a conflicting obligation of presenting her senior project—delivered a brief speech by way of her Big Sister, with this special word to the Littles:
“I want you to know that you are important and you are loved. Whatever difficulty you are facing, it will pass. When life gets hard—turn to your big. They are there for you in good times and bad. They love you—so let them. Life does get better. I wish all of you good luck in the future and: Have fun with your big.”