It was June 9, 1998, the day before Little Sister Adilene’s 10th birthday, when she met her Big Sister Linda. Though neither Adilene nor Linda knew it at the time, this was going to be a relationship that would change both of their lives for the better, forever. The two recall their first meeting, hanging out in the backyard of Adilene’s foster mom’s house, putting together a Mickey Mouse puzzle.
Linda knew about Big Brothers Big Sisters since she was in her teens, and she thought it was a great concept. When she finally settled in one place (St. Paul) and knew she’d be there for awhile, she contacted BBBS to get started. At the time, the program made it so that Adilene could chose from 3 potential Big Sisters, and she chose Linda because she spoke Spanish.
They found quickly that they shared common interests beyond the Spanish language, including trips to Como Park, hanging out in the backyard, going swimming, and cooking. After a few years, Linda brought Adilene to meet her family up at their cabin where the two canoed and Adilene camped for the first time. Linda loved having Adilene as a Little Sister and Adilene felt similarly about her Big Sister. Throughout Adilene’s life, she saw many adults in her life come and go, but Linda remained a constant and comforting presence.
Four years into the match, Adilene moved to the Southwest with her foster mom and her match with Linda ended, but their relationship was far from over. Linda continued to keep in touch with Adilene off and on, checking in on her and even visiting. Unfortunately, when Adilene turned 18, she was no longer welcome to stay with her foster mom. She quickly left the house, got married shortly after, and from there, endured a long road of troubles. It was at this time that, due to the nature of moving around quite a bit, Linda and Adilene lost touch. But not for good!
After a few years, Adilene decided to put the past behind her and move back to Minnesota. It took a few months of searching, but finally Linda and Adilene reconnected, and the two couldn’t be happier about it. Their relationship certainly changed. They are no longer Little and Big, but they’re beyond friendship, and closer like a mother and daughter. Adilene enjoys spending time with Linda and her children, and often tells them how lucky they are to have a mom like Linda. The kids roll their eyes, protesting that she enforces too many rules, but Adilene is careful to remind them that having rules means she cares, and that’s the best thing a mom can do.
To potential volunteer mentors, Linda encourages that they just go for it! There’s not another relationship like the one you can have with a Little, and it’s incredibly rewarding to hear about the impact you can truly have on someone’s life. Now, when Adilene pictures her future family, she pictures it the way that Linda’s family is managed.
Are you interested in making a positive difference in a child’s life? Learn more by attending an Info Session! Sign up here: http://www.bigstwincities.org/volunteer