Anita is a mother of three, all of whom have been enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters. She spoke at our Volunteer Appreciation Event in June.
I’ve been a single parent for as long as I’ve been a mom. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life with my kids, but anyone who has been a single parent can tell you it’s a challenge to raise three kids on your own.
There’s an old saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ and for my family, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been an important part of that village. My youngest son, Ronnie, just graduated from high school; he’s the last to leave the nest and the last to have a Big. Now that he’s all grown up (he thinks), I’ve been thinking a lot about the role BBBS has played in my family’s lives over the years.
Nearly 20 years ago, I signed my oldest daughter up for a Big Sister, and from the moment she met her match, I knew it was a good decision. BBBS screens their volunteers through and through and provides a lot of support, so you know your child will be safe and secure when they are with their Big. And my daughter and her Big had so much in common, they clicked right away! That’s how it was for each of my kids – they all have different personalities, but they each got matched with the perfect Big to be their friend.
Ronnie was doubly lucky; when he was eight, he was matched with a Big Couple, so he has two Bigs. Scott and Melanie have been such a blessing during the 10 years they’ve been Ronnie’s Bigs, and we’ve all grown to love them. They’re just like family now.
When Ronnie was just a little kid, I saw how much comfort he got from spending time with his Bigs. And as he got older, they helped him learn and try new things. For example, I would never go rock climbing, so without a Big Brother to take him, neither would Ronnie. And Scott and Melanie also helped him with his homework and encouraged him to do well in school. (I need to brag just a little bit about my son – this June he graduated with a GPA of 4.25 and he received the Annexstad Scholarship from BBBS!)
I wanted my kids to have lots of people to look up to and learn from as they grew up, which is why I chose BBBS. And I got exactly what I hoped for, and so much more. I would encourage all parents to sign their children up for BBBS. It made a big difference to my family and the organization works very hard to make sure that every match is as successful as Ronnie’s.
If you want to learn more, just call 651.789.2400 – it will be the best decision you ever make.